Social media inspires individuals, companies, and groups to come together to help the homeless
7:00 PM, Jan 20, 2014
7:20 PM, Jan 20, 2014
WXYZ - They came from all over metro-Detroit to the Lebanese American Heritage Club in Dearborn Monday to put together care packages for the homeless. Volunteers then filled more than 100 bags with food, hygiene products, hand warmers, and winter clothes.
It wasn't an unusual thing to see. People in metro-Detroit are always working to help others. What was somewhat unusual was how it got started.
While working on a story about cold weather, 7 Action News Reporter Kim Russell met a homeless man who needed help. She posted something about it on Facebook. Soon some people who read the post decided to do more than talk about a problem. They planned a project to help.
Monique Springborn, Jennifer Lucas, and a few friends came up with the idea. They decided to make 50 care packages for the homeless.
Once the ladies got on social media and shared their idea, it became evident it wasn't going to work as planned.
The issue? Simply too many people wanted to help.
Donations started pouring in. Ultra Aluminum in Howell, Kennedy Industries in Milford, WXYZ employees and viewers, Costco, Sam's Club, Mill's Pharmacy + Apothecary in Birmingham, and the Lebanese American Heritage Club reached out offering donations and volunteers. The project collected way more donations than intended. It had dozens of coats, sweaters, hats, scarves, hygiene products, hand warmers, blankets, and more than 1000 food items.
"It tells you that the community is ready to help. We have people out there who are waiting to be called on to volunteer their time and expertise," said Wassim Mahfouz, Executive Director of the Lebanese American Heritage Club.
Volunteers at the LAHC gathered Monday to put together care packages. It was round two of the project. Sixty had already been packed by volunteers at Ultra Aluminum. Volunteers then hit the streets and passed them out to the homeless.
So, in the end, the project with a goal of making 50 care packages packed about three times that many bags, plus loose donations that were given to the Fort Street Presbyterian Church's soup kitchen.
"It is absolutely amazing. It restores your faith in humanity that people actually care to help others," said Jennifer Lucas. "When you put it out there people have a desire and a want in their heart to help other people. Just to see how big this got through social media, it's huge.
"We had no idea it would turn into such a huge amount of generosity from neighbors, friends and the community. It is humbling. I am so proud. I am really happy we were able to assemble so much," said Monique Springborn.