Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pay It Forward

This week we met Eric, a well-spoken, deep thinking 49 year old guy, who had a lot on his mind, and a lot to say. After speaking to Eric for some time a family of 6 people from Atlanta came up to us looking for some food. There was a mother, father, two kids under the age of 4 and a teenage daughter and son. They had no money, and no food, and unfortunately we had run out of food packages to give them.

That's when Eric stepped up. He handed out the food in the package we just gave him to the parents and the water bottles to the kids. "That's called Paying It Forward," Eric told us.

Last night was the first cold night in Detroit in many months. We were happy to be able to give out a few sleeping bags we had collected and some heavy sweaters and hooded sweat shirts. Being homeless during the hot summer months is a real challenge, as we learned when we were just getting started this summer. Cold weather, and winter is going to be a whole different thing, and we are going to have to start a collection of winter wear to give out with our weekly package deliveries. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

H2HD Needs Your Help


Our lunch we distribute to each person

                                                       A $50 donation feeds 12

I've always been drawn to people in need. But nothing I had done, or felt, before starting Heart 2 Hart Detroit prepared me for what I would see and hear from the homeless and needy men and women who live on the streets and at shelters in the Detroit Metro area.

We've seen people sleeping on cement floors in Hart Plaza, under trees on Jefferson Avenue and even under overpasses off the I-75 expressway.  I've been asked by a young boy at a shelter "do you live in a house, do you like it?".

We started out providing food packages once a week to twelve people at Hart Plaza and surrounding area. Our work has spread us out over some miles, and gone beyond a food delivery program. We now include clothing and toiletries with our weekly food delivery. H2HD also goes to shelters and clothes closet outreach programs, to hand out donated clothes. We are doing a lot, but we want to do more.

Heart 2 Hart Detroit wants to start distributing food packages another few days a week. There is definately a need, and we have the volunteers to help distribute

But we need your help to buy the food.

Each meal costs about $4.25. That translates into $50 for each delivery of 12 meals.

We are happy to do the work that's involved, and take the time to not only give out packages, but sit down and have conversations with the recipients and treat them with the dignity they deserve.

Please consider sponsoring a group of 12 meals, in your name, or in honor of someone else, For more information please email Larry Oleinick at...... larryH2HD@gmail.com or call 248-884-4434.


Larry Oleinick
Heart 2 Hart Detroit

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bicycle Built for 2

"Take my bike for a ride."

That's what the guy named Al said to me and Ken when we caught up with him in Hart Plaza this week. We had given Al packages before, and it was Ken that recognized him this time and struck up a conversation.

Al told us he was so appreciative of everything people had given him, and he was very proud of his bike that he received through a donation from a church. His offer to let us take his bike for a spin was really symbolic we thought.

"For people who are homeless and who are walking on shoes with no soles, a bike is a really big deal," Ken says. "They have very little personal property, and anything they do have they cling to. So for Al to let us ride his bike made Larry and I feel really good. We knew that he trusted us."

With each package we deliver, and with each connection we make, we hope that we are building trust and offering hope to the people we meet.

It's been a great ride so far.

The Hart is Back

Angelo was the very first guy I met on that very first hot summer day I went downtown to hand out food packages. He's probably about 55, lived a hard life, but from what I can tell he's a man that has learned alot along the way.

When I first met Angelo he was really appreciative of what I was doing. If I didn't have such a positive experience when I met Angelo that first time, I'm not sure I would have continued doing the weekly deliveries and gone on to start Heart 2 Hart Detroit. So thank you to Angelo, and the many people we have met on the streets along the way.

It's actually been many weeks since we've seen Angelo so it was nice to run in to him again in Hart Plaza. Ken and I talked with Angelo for about 30 minutes about his life. He said that he looks for us every week and that it felt good to reconnect with us.

We were excited to see Angelo again because we had a sweater and some shorts for him that he had asked for a while ago. Angelo commented once that he liked my cargo shorts, because they have so many pockets.

"Pockets to keep your things are very important when you are homeless," Ken reminded me.

When I received the donation of the size 36 cargo shorts and the black and white sweater,I knew right away they were going to Angelo. I've been driving around with the shorts and sweater for a while, so it was really great to finally see Angelo again and hand them over this week.

Friday, August 31, 2012

They Need More than a Sandwich

This week we had a different experience than we have encountered before. We are usually handing out our packages of food and clothing to people on the street that look like they need help. Some are elderly, some are disabled or physically limited, and some look like they have been homeless for a long, long time.

This time we ran into a few guy who were probably in their late 20's to early 30's, physically fit, and just hanging out and grateful for our food and clothing packages. When we started to have a conversation with them, they were very eager to let us know that there was something they wanted more than food. They wanted jobs!

It was very important to them that we understood that they weren't just looking for handouts. They really wanted to step up and be part of a contributing society. They were frustrated by the lack of jobs and opportunities. They wanted resources, places to go that might help them get work, and get back into the main stream of Detroit.

Last week we met with the people at South Oakland Shelter who provide services to both transitional and homeless people in the Tri-County area. We talked about what more can be done, and how Heart 2 Hart Detroit can involved to be a partner in the process. They provide H2HD with a Tri-County Community Resource Guide to help us give needed information to the people we see on the streets.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Being Careful Out There


This week when Ken and I went downtown to make our weekly deliveries, there weren't many homeless or needy people hanging out at Hart Plaza. Instead, we drove around downtown Detroit looking for some needy people to give our packages of food, clothing and words of encouragement to.

There's always guys standing near the off ramp exits of I-75. We often hand out a bag of food along with a few shirts to these gentleman and hear a bit of their story. Wish we could spend more time with them, but hopefully the food, clothing, toiletries and a smile from us, makes a difference in their life for that day.

One guy was so happy with the soft, chewy granola bar we gave him. His face lite up into a huge smile. "I can't eat anything hard because of my teeth," he said. And then he asked us for another bar. We were happy to give him another granola bar.

Because of what we are doing we understand that there are some risks involved. Approaching people on the street needs to be done cautiously and respectfully. "I always walk up slowly and tell them I want to give them some food," says Ken. "You never know what you are going to encounter when you walk up to someone."

In addition, one added step that Ken and I do before our drive downtown is to say the Traveler's Prayer that my Rabbi suggested to me. Not only is it to keep up safe, but it also gives us a a chance to honor the moment and think about what we are really trying to do for the homeless and needy people.
We not only feel safe doing what we are doing, but honestly we feel proud and happy.

Larry, Lori and Ken

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Good Work In Pontiac

Ken, Larry and Mark ready to hand out shirts

On Saturday at the Baldwin Center picnic in Pontiac, H2HD passed out Detroit Piston's t-shirts to the clients of the Center. Baldwin Center's mission is to feed, clothe, educate and empower men, women and children of the Pontiac community. Ken, Mark and I loved the opportunity to help this great organization.

Jose Diaz,the Food Program Director and staff, were very accommodating to us with a tour of both their facility and their three organic gardens. Heart 2 Hart Detroit is looking forward to helping out again at the next Baldwin Center function. Keep up the great work.