October 2018 Newsletter
Cooper Standard and SAY Detroit Install a New Swing Set in Cass' Taylor Park
A brand new playscape now sits on the green space next to Cass Community’s Scott Building thanks to the joint efforts of Cooper Standard and SAY Detroit. SAY (Super All Year) Detroit is Mitch Albom's nonprofit. It has the mission of “bettering the lives of Detroit’s neediest – at any age.” Cooper Standard is a global automotive and industrial parts manufacturer with headquarters in Novi and a commitment to community engagement. Together, they have collaborated on playscapes and home rebuilding projects all over Detroit.
            Another company, Michigan Recreational Construction, was tapped by SAY Detroit to prep the grounds the day before, deliver the playscape kits and supervise the construction. On a crisp fall morning, 40 volunteers—all from Cooper Standard’s Business Development Team—were greeted by Mark "Rosie" Rosenthal from SAY Detroit. After receiving some basic directions and safety tips from Craig Sheffer, co-owner of Michigan Recreational Construction, the Cooper Standard folks divided themselves into groups of 5 to 10 and went to work.
           Less than 3 hours later, and with the same kind of energy and coordination that must have fueled the barn raisings of times past, the task was completed. The team had assembled the entire playscape, which was comprised of a single-post 4-seat swing, a “Topsy-Turvy” standing spinner, a “Saddle” seated spinner and 4 park benches. They had also spread underneath the various pieces a total of 60 cubic yards of engineered wood fiber (those are wood chips with a special safety surfacing).
Rev. Fowler, Executive Director of Cass Community, couldn’t have been more pleased with the final result. As she explained to the Cooper Standard volunteers, “Now the families being served by Cass Community will have a space where adults and their children can enjoy the outdoors.” The area will also be a site for agency staff picnics as well as for family reunions for the residents of the nearby Tiny Homes—making it a unique community space.
Empty Bowls Detroit Has Helped Feed People at Cass for a Decade
Thirteen years ago, Bonnie Mellos used the three-step Empty Bowls format to create a hunger awareness activity for the girls attending vacation church camp at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in St. Clair Shores. One: the campers painted lots of bowls. Two: the group hosted a fundraising meal of soup and bread for friends, family and church members. Three: at the end of the meal, the guests took the painted bowls home as a reminder that someone’s bowl is always empty. Bonnie and the campers were elated when their small efforts raised a whopping $500, which they donated to a local nonprofit organization.
The success of that fundraiser propelled Bonnie to continue the project on an annual basis. The Cass Community food program has been the designated beneficiary of the project for almost 10 years. Now known as Empty Bowls Detroit, Bonnie leads a committee that produces two annual events that raise funds to aid the agency in feeding Detroit’s hungry.
The ever popular and “original” yearly event, which Bonnie describes as more family oriented, is held at the Assumption Church Cultural Center. The committee decided that instead of holding both events on the same weekend as was done in years past, this event would be held near the end of the year, on October 14. Nothing else has changed: in addition to the signature no-frills meal of soup and bread, guests enjoy great entertainment. And, of course, all participants leave with a beautifully decorated, empty bowl in hand.
The other event has been held at Detroit’s Eastern Market for the past six years. Geared for guests aged 21 and older, the evening features soup, bread, cheese and dessert, all donated by local businesses and chefs. Every year, top Detroit talents provide the musical entertainment. In describing how the enthusiasm for this event has grown, Bonnie explained, “The initial event at Eastern Market six years ago drew 150 people. The 2018 Empty Bowls Detroit fundraiser, held last March, attracted 1,000 attendees!”
Workshops, where participants paint the bowls that are distributed at the two Empty Bowls Detroit fundraisers, are held throughout the year on first and third Fridays at Cass Community’s Activity Center. Also, schools, churches and businesses across the region can schedule bowl-painting workshops at their sites. All of these gatherings help to raise awareness about hunger, in general, and the work Cass Community does to alleviate food insecurity in Detroit, in particular.
For more information about attending or hosting a workshop and updates about future Empty Bowls Detroit events, please visit

Cass' Detroit-Wayne County Rotating Shelter Needs Help
The Interfaith Hospitality Ministry of Cass Community has relied on the generosity of places of worship throughout metropolitan Detroit since 1988. Religious organizations commit to house ("host") up to 54 adult men and women each night for one week. The week-long commitments run from Saturday to Saturday.
The participants meet at Cass Community’s Scott Building each afternoon for roll call. The agency’s bus transports them to that week’s location, arriving between 5 and 6 p.m. The host provides dinner and an area within their facility for the guests to sleep, resting on air mattresses and linens that are provided by Cass Community. The host is welcome to schedule an after-dinner activity or some form of entertainment. Agency security staff remains at the host’s site during the entire stay.
The next morning, the host serves breakfast on site and provides an individual sack lunch for each guest. The Cass Community bus arrives at about 7:30 a.m. to pick up the participants.
So far, 25 hosts have committed to participate in the 2018 – 2019 term, which runs from the end of October through mid-April . However, there are 4 weeks in December that are still open and need commitments . Churches of all denominations, synagogues and mosques are invited to serve in these week-long commitments.
 If a host is only able to provide sleeping space, Cass Community will make arrangements for the guests’ meals. Or, if a host facility cannot accommodate sleepers, they can come to the Scott Building and provide dinner and breakfast. Places of worship can also donate money that can be used for guests that are staying at another host location to have some form of entertainment, such as an evening of bowling or a visit to a movie theater.
Please consider whether your place of worship can commit to house guests for a week in December or whether you can serve in another way. Contact Kim Hudolin, Cass Community’s Deputy Director, to offer to commit to a week or for other information at 313-883-2277 ext 204 or khudolin@casscommunity.org.
If you shop online using Amazon, please consider designating Cass Community Social Services as your charity of choice on Amazon Smiles.

Cass will use the World Building parking lot for TRUNK OR TREAT - on Halloween, October 31, for candy distribution. If you have goodies to contribute, please drop them off at the World Building (11745 Rosa Parks) by October 30. If you would like to spoil Cass Community's ghosts and goblins, we are asking that you arrive by 3 p.m. on Halloween so we can arrange the cars in the parking lot.
Can You Help? We need...

Home Depot Gift Cards
Meijer or Spartan Grocery Cards
Twin Sheets and Blankets
October Dates
Empty Bowls at Assumption Cultural Center - October 14

Rev. Fowler Speaks at
Madonna University - October 10
Ally - October 11
Gesu Book Club - October 22
Next Birmingham - October 23
Indiana University East - October 24

Rochester Christmas Breakfast -
December 4
Advent by Candlelight Concert at Cass
Church - December 2
Upcoming Events
Volunteer Opp
The Cass Christmas Store