Detroit In All Her Glory

It was on O’Donnell’s blog that she first made comments about Detroit. After landing in the city to shoot a Lifetime movie, O’Donnell wrote, "I'm here in Detroit, Michigan where the recession is already the depression. Hard to believe unless you see it. We must save this city." 2008

Months later, as O'Donnell prepares for the Feb. 28 debut of "America," the Lifetime network movie she filmed in and around Detroit, she still doesn't understand why there isn't more awareness across the country of the economic tsunami that's hit here.
Detroit Free Press, 2/20/09, Julie Hinds

Detroit is one of the cities people love to hate. I have never figured that out but you see it in the national news, the sports news and now the financial news. Granted, in Detroit some things have not been done well or handled properly but there are still a lot of regular people here, decent hard working people, trying to live life like everyone else. A few real facts about Detroit:

  • In 2005, Detroit was the nations poorest big city.

  • In December 2008, Detroit's unemployment rate was 21%, according to some articles.

  • We have been in recession since 2001 and are officially considered in Depression.

This is not a surprise to those who live here but seems to be relatively unnoticed by the rest of the nation including Washington and those who are determining the future of the Auto Companies. Mismanaged? Yes. Alone in this boat? No. Ten years ago, companies were not under scrutiny as they are now as long as everyone was getting paid. Big bonuses for big producers or owners was expected and considered the American Way. I don't really have an opinion either way about the right or wrong of Big Business (well okay I have an opinion but am not writing about that now). Life always goes along unnoticed until we or someone we love hits the wall and is suddenly affected. Only then do we sit up and take notice.

“Many people are first-timers — they have no idea how to navigate the system, how to qualify for food stamps,” Wells said. “Last year, some were donors — now they’re clients.” The Founder

The funniest thing about Detroit is that we are known to be the most generous people in the nation despite the hard times we experience. We are truly givers; we root for the underdog and we always lend a hand. This past Friday, Radio Personality, Dick Purtan of WOMC held the 22nd annual radio marathon at a local mall and raised $2,262,931.00 for the Salvation Army's Bed and Bread Truck ministry that meets the needs of thousands of hungry, cold and homeless people in Detroit. School aged children held functions in their schools, businesses struggling to maintain a "business as usual" demeanor collected from their staffs to donate, and children as young as 6 years old gave earned money to the collection plate. One little child came to the marathon with their own .78 cents and that donation will feed someone a meal. In the Detroit area alone, the Salvation Army serves over 5000 meals per day and shelters approximately 550 people each night.

It's hard to believe that a donation of .78 cents matters but every penny counts. The Salvation Army makes every dollar work and during the marathon countless stories are told over and over by those who've received financial help and life changing guidance in the past and are now giving back. In the midst of the worst economic woes I've seen in my lifetime, southeast Michigan and others who've come to love this program, come through once again.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,

I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,

I was homeless and you gave me a room,

I was shivering and you gave me clothes,

I was sick and you stopped to visit,

I was in prison and you came to me.'

'Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?'

Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

Matthew 25:35-40 (The Message)

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