Ypsilanti Citizen Community ]]>

Volunteers prepare for Ypsi PRIDE Day
By Mark Tower
May. 13, 2010   ·   7:09 a.m.

Volunteers and W.H. Canon employees plant flowers in Depot Town while Ypsilanti resident Mike Labadie repairs the planter's brick work on Ypsi PRIDE Day last year.

Each year, residents in and around the city of Ypsilanti carry on a tradition started by a group of community members enrolled in a city leadership program, a sort...read more

Bicycles zoom as flowers bloom
By Citizen staff
Apr. 30, 2010   ·   2:11 p.m.

Riders from last year's spring ride come in after a long trip. Bike Ypsi’s 2010 Spring Ride and Festival is from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday at Recreation Park (1015 Congress Street).

The weather has turned, the trees are budding and the flowers are popping out of the ground; time for a cruise through town. But don’t be so quick to hop in the...read more

Sheriff Clayton visits Ypsilanti Township
By Mark Tower
Apr. 29, 2010   ·   12:59 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township resident Kathleen Hanadel takes notes as her and other residents attempt to asses WCSO services Tuesday evening at a community forum held at the township's community center.

About 50 Ypsilanti Township residents gave the Washtenaw County Sheriff Office their input about law enforcement in the community Tuesday evening.

The information...read more

Local photographer raising funds for Ypsi Project exhibit
By Adrienne Ziegler
Apr. 20, 2010   ·   2:20 a.m.

Ypsilanti resident Nicholas Beltsos his grandson Demetrios were photographed by Project Ypsi photographer Erica Hampton during a bike ride she took Monday. A former EMU economics professor, Beltsos and his family moved to Ypsi from Dearborn in 1967.

Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.

Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits...read more

Savoy taking shape as live music venue
By Dan DuChene
Apr. 17, 2010   ·   2:38 p.m.

Local funk band Third Coast Kings play in Ypsilanti's newest live music venue, Savoy, Friday night.

Ypsilanti's newest concert venue is preparing for its grand opening weekend April 23, more than a month after its soft opening March 13.

Formerly Club Divine,...read more

Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels struggles with funding

Erma Lathum, resident of Clark East Tower, gets her meals delivered through Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels several times a week. Photo by Christine Laughren

Erma Lathum, resident of Clark East Tower, gets her meals delivered through Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels several times a week.
Ypsilanti Farmers Market

Wait list created as revenue shrinks, need increases

By Christine Laughren
Nov. 13, 2009    ·    4:01 p.m.

Starting on the seventh floor of Clark East Towers off East Clark Rd., Jackie Macy and her assistants begin to make their daily rounds for Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels.

Tortellini, mixed vegetables, peaches, a roll and milk are on the menu today. While Macy scrolls down her list, Lenora Miller and Sherwin Mack take a hot meal out of their thermal food bag, arrange the rest of it on the tray, and it’s ready to go.

“It’s Meals on Wheels,” Mack trumpets as he knocks on the first resident’s door.

Making their way down to the sixth floor of the senior community, Macy explains many of the people who receive meals are not able to get out of their apartment to go shopping or even cook. But with a little help from her and her assistants, all of whom are subcontracted through Michigan Ability Partners, a non-profit that provides vocational and financial services among other things, Macy is able to bring smiles to several faces a week as she makes her food delivery rounds.

Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels serves 215 meals to area residents every day and another 60 residents are on a waiting list to be a part of the program. However, like many charitable organizations, YMOW is struggling to stay afloat with sharply declining revenue in recent years.

“Donations have been down, our fundraising revenue is down and our recipient contributions are down,” said Ann Harris, executive director of the program. “At the same time we’re seeing all those decreases, we’re also seeing a population that’s aging and we see adult children having to move out of state for jobs, so we have an increasing number of people that are living alone.”

Approximately 86 percent of those served by YMOW are living alone and more than 30 percent are more than 81 years old. And, though, Harris said age has no relevance for the people the organization serves, she said what they do have in common are medical conditions that put them at risk.

“We’ve actually served children through people who are 100 years old, but they are all medically at risk,” she said.

This is the first year in the organization’s 35-year history it has had to create a waiting list, and those on the list typically have to wait about three months to start receiving food.

“Hospice patients we started giving priority to because what we were finding is by the time they got to the top of the list, they were dead,” Harris said.

A few years ago YMOW’s first line of defense in balancing its budget was to eliminate dinner. Now, Harris said the organization needs $30,000 by the end of the year to stay solvent. That money would not impact the wait list, but it would keep the list from getting longer and keep the organization’s board of directors from reducing its services even more.

That’s important to people like Erma Lathum, who lives on the second floor of Clark East Towers.

“I’m coming,” Lathum, hollers from the other side of the door after Macy gives it a quick rap.

Lathum, who is blind, opens the door to her immaculately clean apartment, and Macy and Miller greet her with smiles and laughs as they step in for a quick hello, while Mack delivers food to others on the floor.

Meals on Wheels is important to Lathum, who lives alone in the apartment, because she said sometimes she doesn’t feel like fixing a meal for herself.

“But mostly I like it because I don’t know what I would do without Jackie to fuss with,” she said joking with Macy in their typical bantering fashion.

As Macy leaves Lathum grabs onto her, gives her a big hug and says, “I love you.” For her part, Macy said she doesn’t know what she would do if something ever happened to Lathum. She also said getting to know people, and have them rely on you and share their life stories is as rewarding as delivering the food itself.

“We have a lady in the other building who always does jigsaw puzzles and invites me in every time to show me what she is working on,” Macy said riding the elevator down to the first floor before packing up and moving on to Towne Center Place, senior housing located in Downtown Ypsilanti. “And people will give us stuff that they made, like bookmarks and crochet crosses.

“But I think (Meals on Wheels) is important, especially for people who really don’t have the money to spend on food,” she said. “At least this way we know that, at least once a day, they are getting fed.”

The YMOW board of directors is looking at every aspect of the agency, trying to find ways to bring in additional revenue as well as cost saving measures according to Harris.

However, regular donations by community members is a big part of what keeps YMOW ticking and fundraisers like the Holiday Homes Tour have been expanded in recent years to give people more reasons to participate and donate.

For instance, Harris said “A Taste of Ypsilanti” was added to the Candlelight Tour last year. Local businesses providing appetizers and desserts for this year’s Dec. 5 Candlelight Tour include Beezy’s, Biggies, Pita Pita, Sidetrack and Queen of Hearts among many others.

Harris calls the Candlelight Tour less of a home tour and more of a “progressive party” that eventually ends at the Hutchinson House with dessert and wine. The regular Holiday Homes Tour, now in its 13th year, will be Dec. 6.

There are many ways people can help according to Harris. Whether it be through volunteering or monetary contributions, Harris said every little bit counts.

“Go to our Web site and sign up for recurring contribution,” she said giving an example of ways community members could donate. “Even if it’s ten dollars a month - that’s two meals.”

On the Web:
To learn more about Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, including location, office hours, phone numbers and ways to donate or volunteer visit www.ymow.org.

Visit www.mapagency.org to learn more about Michigan Ability Partners.

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The Rocket

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