The Ypsilanti branch of Meals on Wheels, 1110 W Cross St, was busy with volunteers on Saturday.
This was a community outreach program that included a Holiday Home Tour in the morning and Taste of Ypsi in the evening. Meals on Wheels is a charity that takes meals to elderly and disabled people, who do not have reliable mobility.
Although scheduled, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, a non-profit experience group at Eastern, did not show up. Allison Foreman, who runs Meals on Wheels, said they cancelled by email the night before.
Foreman said Eastern students are a great resource for her volunteer-based organization. There were several sororities working that day.
“They're great,” Foreman said. “They help us with day to day things as well, with doing meal delivery, doing clinical social work ... and health assessments.”
Normally, EMU volunteers include work-study students, social work majors, clinical work students, nursing students and students looking to fill their 40 hours of volunteer work.
“In a given semester, we get probably about 2 to 4,000 volunteer hours from EMU students,” Foreman said.
The first half of the day was the Holiday Home Tour. This is the event’s nineteenth year running. Historic homes around town are decorated by the families that live there. Then volunteers give guided tours through them to tell the history of the house and how it relates to the community. Foreman said that this would give EMU students a hands-on look at how fundraisers are planned and actually run in the real world.
According to a pamphlet given out at the Meals on Wheels base in the back of the Baptist church on West Cross Street, 22 individuals and companies sponsored the day, including Zingerman's, Ypsi Alehouse, The Ugly Mug and The St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church.
There was also an evening portion called The Taste of Ypsilanti. This was a chance for people to try food from around the city of Ypsilanti. This was sponsored by the Ypsilanti Food Co-Op, Sidetracks, Maiz, Pita Pita, La Casita, the Bank of Ann Arbor and The Tap Room, among others.
At one of the houses, Foreman said, were samples of Go! Ice Cream. This is an Ypsilanti-based artisanal ice cream company that was launched recently in Ypsilanti. Foreman said that the company would be opening a storefront on Washington Street sometime in the summer.
Meals on Wheels has unpaid internship opportunities for development and fundraising. They also have internships for operational and clinical students to get experience in how to work with the government, private entities and the county governments.