Mercy-USA Domestic Programs
Headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan, Mercy-USA for Aid and Development has always been an active partner in the greater Detroit community.
2018-2021 Highlights from our community service work include:
We Care Backpacks
Public school returned to in-person learning this year in Detroit, MI and Mercy-USA was happy to again sponsor backpacks and school supplies. In addition, masks, hand sanitizer and more were distributed to needy kids to help mitigate COVID-19 spread. Many of these children’s families are struggling mightily during the pandemic and Mercy-USA wanted to make coming back to school easy and safer. We also provided teachers in the classroom with PPE plus CDC recommended posters, a flyer for caregivers on resources for vaccination and safe practices as well as a coloring book to help kids learn how to stay healthy.
A teacher at one of the schools told us, “No matter how smart a child is, or no matter what skill level they’re at, they have to be organized. That backpack really helped the students to see themselves as individual students, individual scholars.” She went on to say that just having the supplies and organization tools we supplied in the backpacks helps her students stay on task and allows her to move through the learning day more efficiently. “I’ve seen students many times do an excellent job in terms of preparing their work assignments for the day. But then they don’t have anything to stay organized. If they put it in their pocket, it’s gone. I’ve got to start over with that student.”
This feedback helps us understand that seemingly simple items like folders, scissors, pencil holders and a backpack are not always within reach for families struggling in urban areas with high levels of poverty. Giving a child a new and filled backpack provides for not only a positive feeling about school and learning but also that people outside their immediate community actually care about them and wish them success.
Thanks for Giving food baskets for needy families at Thanksgiving time at a Detroit area soup kitchen.
“Soup Kitchen Swap” Mercy-USA Muslim volunteers relieved Christian volunteers at a local Church soup kitchen in Detroit on Christmas Eve.
Urban Warmth Project For the second year, Mercy-USA for Aid and Development’s staff and volunteers distributed winter care packages to families and single adults in three of Detroit’s homeless shelters in February 2019.
Staff members who manage these shelters told Mercy-USA that by the end of January their donated supplies dwindle while the need only increases during the very cold winter months. We organized numerous shifts of staff and volunteers eager to distribute the care packages that helped fill the needs gap for the city’s homeless population. Two of the three shelters covered serve families exclusively.
The care packages included new winter items such as blankets, gloves, warm socks, plus basic hygiene items. Mercy-USA also donated disposable diapers and feminine hygiene items to the shelters. Basics of maintaining human dignity such as feminine hygiene, diapers and shampoo are necessities that can be unaffordable for families without a home. Mercy-USA wanted to make sure that besides keeping warm, the specific needs of women and their children were being met.
When refugees come to the United States, their immediate needs are taken care of by one of nine resettlement agencies in a private/public partnership with the U.S. State Department. The resettlement agencies help the families locate affordable housing near services such as medical care, employment, and other vital services. The family is given a stipend and their rent is paid for a limited time, after that they are expected to manage on their own. This is where private organizations step in to help families locate all the resources they need to get on their feet and truly integrate into American society.
Mercy-USA has supported these private organizations in the past as they worked to help Syrian refugees get a solid start in America. Now, the United States is working to settle a large number of Afghan refugees at once in 2021 and into 2022.
As the newly arrived Afghan refugees begin to be settled into permanent or semi-permanent housing, Mercy-USA is planning to provide vouchers for winter clothing and/or personal care necessities for families who, in many cases, have come with only the clothing on their backs.