The COVID pandemic hit Detroit hard. So much more than just an annoyance or a sensational news story, the pandemic is deadly serious for thousands of families in the city. Businesses, income, and jobs have been lost. Educations knocked far off course. And lives lost. Some people may have the luxury of treating the pandemic as a political game mostly played out online, but not the people of Detroit.
As things started to get ugly back in the spring and it looked like summer would be even uglier, the question came up: What could Voices for Earth Justice do about it? What could a tiny nonprofit with an annual budget of less than $75,000 and one part-time employee really do in the face of the tragedy bearing down on the city?
A lot of people stepped up to answer the question: Quite a lot.
Dozens and dozens of donors, friends, and volunteers found a way to put a silver lining on the dark cloud hanging over us all.
Over the last few months, they donated thousands of dollars to Brightmoor Connection Food Pantry (through VEJ) and to VEJ's neighborhood garden at Hope House. These funds bought or grew food that people needed because of job or income losses.
A record number of volunteers masked up and went to work in the garden...and they're still coming as fall approaches. Most of them planted seeds, pulled weeds, and took up the harvest. Some of them took on bigger jobs like building a new ramp for Hope House, making a new home for two Bees in the D beehives, and putting up a deer and rodent barrier around the garden (so the food we grow would go to humans).
All of the donors and volunteers working together doubled the size of the old garden. And with at least two more months of growing and harvesting to go, the garden has already produced twelve times as much food as one year ago.
All of that fresh produce is going to Brightmoor Connection Food Pantry or door-to-door delivery on the streets around Hope House & Garden.
This year has been awful, but thank God for people who are doing their very best to make something good come from all of the bad. If you were part of that, thank you!