How was Neighbors That Care created - and why?

There are people in our community putting their lives at risk every day to keep us safe during the deadly coronavirus pandemic. They work in hospitals and emergency care centers, in nursing homes and on our streets. We wanted to not only let them know we appreciate their efforts but to assist them during these difficult times, as well.

Who is leading this organization?

“Neighbors That Care” was launched as a resident-driven initiative in a tiny but close-knit Detroit suburb, working with the Pleasant Ridge Foundation to provide food and other resources to the community’s many first responders. “Neighbors That Care” was founded by Paul A. Eisenstein, Jennifer Quenville, Michael Strong and Brendan Strong. It has since been joined by numerous volunteers.

Is this limited to Pleasant Ridge and surrounding communities?

No. Pleasant Ridge is just the first of many communities we hope to work with. Our goal is to assist neighborhood and community groups across the U.S. to set up similar programs for their own first responders.

What sort of donations are you looking for?

We’re not. “Neighbors That Care” is not focused on fundraising. Our goal is to aid and assist in efforts to provide meals, assemble food baskets or address basic service needs as simple as mowing lawns for first responders working so long and hard they’re struggling simply to find time to sleep. It will be up to local community groups to decide whether they need to fundraise on their own.

How did you come up with the name for this organization and who is involved in it?

From the beginning, when we began working in our local community, we envisioned the idea of caring neighbors helping each other in times of need. And yes, “Neighbors That Care” may not be grammatically correct but we can have a separate discussion on the challenges finding a name and Internet address that hasn’t been taken!

What sort of groups could launch first responder assistance programs?

Pretty much any organization: a community-based charity, a civic or fraternal club, a block group. Your local book or garden club. A Boy or Girl Scouts troop. A Little League team. “Neighbors That Care” is all about encouraging resident-led initiatives.

What could my neighborhood group do?

There are so many different ways you can pitch in, and one of the best is to provide food or food baskets to, though there are also plenty of other ways to assist, such as by offering services, such as mowing lawns.

We’ve run bake sales. Should our community members cook up food for delivery?

Unfortunately, that’s not a good idea unless someone has a CDC-certified kitchen and is able to verify that no one would be infected by the coronavirus. For safety, partner with a local restaurant or bakery or grocery stores. Many already are offering free meals, or food at a discount for first responders. You can help identify recipients, cover costs and get it delivered

Are there resources we can tap, like fast food chains offering assistance?

A number of national, regional and local restaurants, grocery stores and others have announced first responder programs. “Neighbors That Care” is setting up a RESOURCE page that will help community groups – and first responders – track down what’s available.

How can other communities or groups who want to put a similar program in place get the information necessary to do the same thing?

You can go to NeighborstThatCare.com. There, you will find our mission statement and an outline of how our organization works – and, in the coming days, that resource page. If you need further help and guidance, you can email us with your contact information, and we will be happy to respond and talk to you.

Are you in discussions with other, similar organizations?

We are reaching out to other groups across the country who have similar missions to assist first responders.

Has this idea generated interest and questions from other people or organizations in Michigan or beyond?

In the short time since we announced “Neighbors That Care” we have received significant interest from media outlets across the U.S. and have begun reaching out to community groups and other first responder organizations. We expect our efforts to take root in the coming weeks.