John Sauve of “Art N Design” and I became fast friends the moment we met. This guy is funny and lighthearted and a genuinely nice guy. He does this show were he gets to hang out and chat with folks and it was an honor to hang out with him at the Bloomfield Township TV station in 2018 to talk about BWB Detroit.
I just rewatched this and I am amazing at how many names I dropped. I love dropping names in this capacity..ie paying tribute to the folks who help out and build projects together.
A hopefully full list of the amazing folks I mentioned; (and not mentioned the hundreds of additional people who help in soo many amazing ways) Huge bow to you all!
Rosey Posey who helped level this project up!!
Kim and Chris Casteel of Anew Life Prosthetics
The amazing crew at the Tangent Gallery Joe and Jimbo
The whole DAMNED crew
Charles from Atelier Gothic who donates and hosts a very generous fundraiser for BWB Detroit at the DAMNED
Mike who does all sorts of things for BWB Detroit programs
Maddy- who organizes BWB Detroit Free Store and Shannon who does haircuts for BWB Detroit Free Store
Chris Maxwell from Shinola who comes to our annual event and gathers donations and crew
Teal and Purple of Drink and Stitch
Krampus – who throws a great party that benefits BWB Detroit
On March 27 2021, I volunteered for a clean up at 4166 Holcomb Street in District 5 for Nikki Rawerzki with Syncytium Group. At that time I was introduced to Zavia Ferguson
Deputy Manager – District 5
Department of Neighborhoods
313-236-3523. I asked her if I could participate in more events both inside and outside the Motor City Makeover program currently in progress. She was glad to inform me of streets that are in need of clearing debris services. Shortly after our meeting I was contacted by Brenna Sullivan (313) 236-8521
Department of Neighborhoods from Detroit mayor Duggan’s office. She said that Kayana Sessoms
Manager, District 3
City of Detroit
Department of Neighborhoods would be contacting me very soon to arrange a date and time to support her district 3 efforts. On March 30 I spoke with Kayana and agreed to clear debris on May16 and pick up supplies on May 6th at the Farwell Community Center on Outerdrive Ave.
This effort to volunteer comes from my Long association with the people that live in the city of Detroit. Long term residents for the most part.
I used to manage a radiator shop on Eastgrand Blvd and Brush for Detroit Radiator Corporation back in 1983 (write after college). This lasted for ten (10) years and in those ten (10) years I met a lot of residents in the neighborhoods who had little or no means of income (former auto workers) but were so fare,honest and friendly towards me that I became friends with many. Every beginning of the month those needing service would come to my shop and get an estimate and then return back at the end of the month to get the work done. The way they appreciated the hard work,accuracy
and the price stayed the same (even if a new problem came up during the repair) made them so happy. They looked out for me as this area of Detroit was rough back then. This was instilled into my heart and I never lost my willingness to help out those who lived in Detroit (old and new residents)
Event begins to take shape:
After I received a call from Brenna Sullivan, District Supervisor Neighborhoods from Detroit mayor Duggan’s office who informed me that Zayana Sessoms would be calling me to set up a date and location. This started an event on social media and a doodle calendar (picking only Sundays in May so as not to interfere with the MotorCity Makeover event scheduled for all the Saturdays in May through June) to gather interested volunteers to participate around this project. I then contacted Burners without Borders (BWB Detroit) for helping hands to get this Detroit project started. I was so pleased to see 37 interested and 7 going on FB in only one short week. The doodle calendar indicated that May16 was the best day to have our event.
On May6 District 3 had their day to get refuse removal supplies at the Farewell Community Center. This is where I first spoke to Kayana in person. She explained to me about the clearing she needed done and especially about Ms Harris who has gotten up in age and is unable clear her vacant properties next to her house. She also talked about a very special park in her district that had a special history with the community.
A call went out to all volunteers to bring shovels, rakes, brooms and a bucket with a handles…. volunteers showed up with chain saws, loppers, a chopping pole with mashettie blade on the end and a large garbage gondola wheel barrel.
“Volunteers were also asked to bring drinking cups, disposable forks/ knives, and leather gloves. All volunteers were informed that they MUST ware work shoes and follow CDC guidelines when ever possible and ware PPE.
First Location cleared:
13630 Mapleridge Street
This location grew from four abandoned properties that were cleared to make a place for the community to be proud of.
Kayana met me at the park and gave the volunteers an onsite overview of how the park became a park and how important we were in making this effort to clear this park of debris. It was clearly evident that we were recognized by the community because residents were driving by saying “Thank You” The grass had just been cut so most of the debris was around the park’s edge and on the side of a boarded up apartment complex next door. Even though the lawn was just cut, it still took over an hour to clear.
Second location cleared:
18636 Hickory Street
When I arrived I could see Ms Harris sitting so patiently on her porch awaiting our arrival. She had this look of amazement as so many volunteers assented on her property. Her house looked so clean and well maintained. All the shrubbery was trimmed and there were no weeds in her flower beds. Her house is boarded by a boarded up house on the left and a vacant lot on the right with an abandoned house on the corner. All with dumped debris and tall grass. She spoke of how her failing health and rising age kept her from clearing all of that on her own. Which she used to do.One major concern for her was that she could no longer see the corner from her porch because of the overgrown weeds of the abandoned house on the corner. I assured her that all that would go away and she would have no more trouble seeing that street after we were done. Ms Harris was unable to see our work in action due to her leaving soon for Sunday mass services, so we took a quick group photo with her and got to work. We all were so very proud to meet Ms Harris, later on that day Kayana called me to inform me that when Ms Harris returned to her home that she was so pleased with the work that we did that she had a smile on her face from ear to ear and was beside herself with joy. This is what I explained to Kayana.
Third Location cleared:
13803 Eastwood Street
There was no excuse for the way this property looked. Due to the condition of the home (no windows or doors) people had been dumping debris on the porch and on the lawn, along the street side as well and on a pad where a garage once stood for a long time. The growth of weeds had grown so high that we were unable to see a sidewalk that was still there. I’m glad we had a chainsaw to cut this all down. There were so many bags of clothing, a box spring and mattress and even an air hockey table amongst the debris. We spent the majority of our time and filled the most bags at this location.
Burners without Borders Detroit · On Sunday, Feb 21st Burners without Borders Detroit will be packing 300 more supply-filled backpacks and we need help getting them onto the streets into the hands of people who can use them.We will be open for pick up from 2pm til 5pm(ish) that day and would love it if folks can PM us to set up a time to come by for the safe transfer of the packs.The pickup location is on the upper east side of Detroit near Grosse Pointe!
When I wrote that we had sold out of patches I had not yet received the names of people who purchased them….and now that I do have the list I want to thank all of you.
I love that some folks bought 2 and even more and knowing there are now 100 of these patches out there I look forward to seeing them purses, and pouches and jackets and more!
Thanks to each of you near and far..86 were sold to Michiganagers – 12 were out of state and 2 were international! (Oh Canada) And we even had 2 generous folks not need a patch they just wanted to make a donation! (heart melt!)
To each of you… Thank you..i want to barnacle hug you all!
THIS fundraiser reminded us how important ALL the fundraisers are that people have done for us over the last decade to our meeting the mission of helping others. Each fundraiser, no matter how big or small, keeps alive the WE of this project.!! This fundraiser especially helped us in a time when were like.. ‘OMG .. this is going to be such a hard hustle during covid’. We even considering folding this year, instead remembered the power of asking and when we did people stepped up to help us help others..we can not do what we do without the help of others.
To read more about the fundraiser on for BWB Detroit by Brad and Pam Benzing read more here:
By donating any amount it helps the head organizers in San Francisco Ms. Molly Rose the Program Manager and Christopher Breedlove Head of Burners Without Borders at the Burning Man Project accomplish the mission of promoting activities around the globe that support a community’s inherent capacity to thrive by encouraging innovative approaches to disaster relief and grassroots initiatives that make a positive impact.
Here is an infographic to demonstrate some of the impact;
To donate by mail: Checks can be made payable to Burning Man Project. Please note Burners Without Borders in the memo field or with an accompanying letter indicating your designation to the Burners Without Borders program.
HUGE BOW TO EACH OF YOU WE CAN NOT DO WHAT WE DO FOR OTHERS WITHOUT YOU!!!
This list scrolls long and it melts my heart….I wish I could hug each of your individually and tell you thank you to your face.
I beg forgiveness to anyone who i did not add to this list, I am so sorry if I have neglected to acknowledge you. xo
I am going to do a shout out toBrad and Pam Benzing for creating the BWB Patch project and to Leslie for helping to organize!!
To all the additional supporters and donors of BWB Detroit via hard work, hustling, shopping, hauling, packing, giving donations via the Amazon Wish List and the Sign Up Genius in 2020/2021 and all the ways people donate and help!!
Kathleen Bruce (Purple)
William Doyle (Boston Bill)
Steven Faulstich (Esteban)
Teresa Galenai (Shiney)
Melissa L. Marrero
Carrie Myers (Dirt Goddess)
Michelle L. Wilson
Bobbi Jo Vallad
edit.. more folks to add (2-18-2021)
Helped me directly With either donations, picking up , organizing stuff, making notes, ordering and tracking supplies. Sarah Mackey Alex Willenborg Tessa Willenborg and third/fourth grade classes at St Basil’s grade school Laura Wilson Phil Askew Hannah Stevens Suzanne Urban Gail Marlow Latisha Johnson
To all the folks who bought BWB Patches to support the cause
To all the Cunts supporting LuvACunt Titties & Clitties (LACTAT) at the DIRTY SHOW in 2020 who in my absence decided the show must go on and took the reigns and made sure we continued to create an experience for women that serves and support women and hopes to empower them too!
Kathryn F Dorko
Leeanne Minx Salinis/George
Riley Shanks J
To all the donors from the Delta Zeta Bingo Board in fall of 2020
Angelica Maria Guarnizo,
Delta Nu Pikes,
Umme Aiman Mirza,
To all the Cunts supporting LuvACunt Titties & Clitties (LACTAT) at the DIRTY SHOW in 2019
Kathryn F Dorko
Danielle Doxie Kaltz
Ruby La Louche
To all the donation from people via the Amazon Wish List and Sign Up Genius in 2019/2020
we gathered a very small group of BWB volunteers and created between 200-300 supply filled backpacks to get on the streets.. just because there is a pandemic (covid-19) sadly does not mean there are not folks experiencing homelessness on our streets.
HUGE thanks to Kim and Chris Casteel at Anew Life Prosthetics for allowing us to use there space, to trust us to be safe and to join us in packing.
Late last year Brad Benzing hit doxie up to suggest a fundraiser of BWB Detroit patches.
This idea came at a time when BWB was suffering from having given most of our funds away early in the pandemic to support members of the community yet still wanting to create 500 backpacks…..but how to do that?
Of course we called out to the community and we received so many donations via our SignupGenius and items sent to us via our amazing community wanting to continue to help us help others.
Then Brad hits me up almost out of the blue and told me to send him our logo…this made us finalize a logo and it is based on another chapters but our color is orange and we have the name of the city of which so many of us are proud.
Once we got him the logo, thanks to Alex aka Shenanigans, Brad took the reigns and got the patches made and then handled the selling of them and the mailing of them. That took so much weight off of BWB Detroit and we are so thankful to him and he crew for such a gift.
As of today we are SOLD OUT!!! and we were able to use the funds to purchase ALL the rest of the supplies to finish the next 300 backpacks.
THIS fundraiser REMINDED me how important ALL the fundraisers people do for us to the mission and to keeping alive the WE of this project.!!
This one especially helped us in a time when were like.. “OMG .. this is going to be such a hard hustle to get there…we can not able to explain to how much this helped us.
It is only because of running BWB Detroit that doxie even learned to ask for help.. she was (is) stubborn and figured she had life all dialed in and she could do it all myself.. but helping others taught her to ask for help.. and Brad reached out to help us took the fear out of if she was going to exhaust her ability to ask others for help. Charity exhaustion is real and times are soo tight for so many people.
She always say this project is a “Me to We project” and when she hears people say ..’we can do this’ ‘we do this.” etc etc.. and when she hears people talk about it in the possessive it is a measure of success for her. ..and Brad continued to prove this is a “We” project.. he proved that to us in a time when we wondered if we may have to fold the project this year.
Thank you to Brad and his crew for keeping it alive.