Auntie Na’s Village has received a $150,000 grant as one of the winners of the 2019 Kresge Innovative Projects: Detroit! We will be using the funds to renovate the “Nutrition House” and will include a commercial kitchen, additional pantry space for our free food programs, a communal dining room, and housing for Village Residents. Our partners and volunteers from Wayne State plan to use the space for nutrition education and counseling. Eventually, we hope the Nutrition House will be home to the Harvesting Unity Cooperative, a co-‐op for local food growers, cooks, and food entrepreneurs
"We aim to provide a ‘complete circle of food’,” says Auntie Na. “We'll be using the garden to teach our children and community residents how to utilize fresh food from the garden, take it into the kitchen, teach them to can, preserve and prepare meals. The community themselves will have access to these as well by taking cooking classes, and we’ll utilize the space for events and a shared kitchen space for entrepreneurs. We want to show that healthy food is accessible. Currently, we don't have a space to feed and serve the community, but we do so on a daily basis. This will give the community a space to host dinners and provide help to our emergency shelter families and more space to provide meals."
Kresge held a grant ceremony during an afternoon of June 15 at the Medical House, 12041 Yellowstone St. The event was attended by U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-‐MI).Her district includes our Village on the Westside and she has been representing us strongly in Washington DC as one of the most outspoken advocates for the impeachment of the current fascist administration. As a Palestinian-‐ American and one of the first Muslim Women in the legislature, Rashida Tlaib has been standing up to the human rights abuses that the U.S. has been perpetrating against oppressed people at home and abroad. Rep. Tlaib is excited to work with Auntie Na’s Village and expressed that she will assist us in acquiring land and housing as we seek to grow our village!
“This is why the Nutrition House is such a powerful idea that I'm proud to say we can now implement,” said Lakshman. “By working closely with residents and community members around Detroit, we can provide a sustainable means of improving our community members’ health with cheap, quick, accessible and healthy meals. This is further augmented by our urban farm and robust corner store program that we are proud to have developed.”
We also want to thank our long-‐term volunteers with the Food, Housing, Medical, and Housing Programs. Thanks especially to Mr. Zeek, Ms. Vicky, Ms. Smith, Ms. Shar, Davis, Tony, Phil, Tino and everyone that’s been holding down Auntie Na’s Village everyday for the last year! We love our Village family! We’re excited to announce that we will have funding for staff stipends starting in July of 2019 and will have funding for these positions through 2020!
The Kresge grant will also allow us to cover the current costs of our 5 Village houses and allow us to grow our capacity to house individuals and families in our Emergency and Long-‐Term Housing Programs. The Nutrition House will be part of “Auntie Na’s Village” – transforming our block into an interconnected network of community centers and Village Homes. We are excited for the big changes we have in store and can’t wait to see you in our Village! We have a couple big events coming up that we hope you’ll join us for!
-‐ Thurs, July 4th 11-‐9pm – We’re hosting the 3rd annual Interdependence Day Celebration at Auntie Na’s Village. We will be celebrating the interdependence of our village with all other communities and ecosystems, and unifying to survive in fascist America. Join us for a cookout and fireworks!
-‐ Sat, July 20th 11-‐7pm -‐ Join us for our monthly Bazaar. Come for the bounce houses, stay for the free bikes, blood pressure check ups and delicious food!
-‐ Thurs, July 25 6-‐8pm – Community Board Meeting – All are welcome to attend our Community Board Meeting and can nominate themselves or others to be on the Community Board! We will be making big decisions regarding Village growth, staff positions and pay, and Community Board structure. Hope to see you there!
"What the Lord has in store, you never know where that ride will take you," Auntie said. "This is much more than the star that I wished upon. This isn't me, it is all of us that have come together. The dollar didn't add up to make sense, the love did."
Auntie Na's House
Over the years, Auntie Na’s House has been many things, but most of all it is a place everybody can call home. It has served as a food pantry, after-school program, clothes distribution hub, community garden, free childcare center, community meals space and temporary shelter. Now we are growing our programs and building up a loving and interdependent village to support our community on the Westside of Detroit.