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Lending a Helping Hand

Senior Courtney Pullman spends her time volunteering with the homeless in Detroit

Finn Hopkins, Guest Reporter

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Everyone has different ideas of how to spend the weekend – some people work, some hang out with friends, and others just have fun. Few people would think of spending their time off school in downtown Detroit, feeding the homeless. But not Courtney Pullman.

Pullman’s philanthropy began when she was ten. Her mom had been going to Detroit with their church, Lakeside Assembly of God, by herself, but she didn’t want to go on her own anymore. Since her dad was working, Pullman agreed to accompany her mother. After that first time volunteering, she knew she would be back.

“I didn’t really know what was going on with how corrupt the city was,” Pullman said. “Going for the first time made me realize there was an actual need for this and how much we impacted the people down there.”

The church group, Bread of Life, started off by cooking food for the homeless population of Detroit. They cooked things like chili, green beans and corn outside the NSO shelter. According to Pullman, they cook all of the food onsite.

The shelter, at Third Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, is where the line forms for the hot meals. This way, the people staying in the shelter don’t need to go far in order to get a good meal, and volunteers can take food inside for those that can’t come out themselves.

In addition to food, Pullman’s group hands out care packages. The packs include hygiene essentials, such as toothpaste and toothbrushes, and outerwear. The hygiene items are donated by dentists or doctors, while Pullman’s grandma knits hats and scarves with a group in Florida.

Volunteering like this allowed Pullman to forge relationships with members of the homeless community. One such person is G, a nine-year-old girl, featured in the photo.

“She’s really a kindhearted person, Pullman said, “so I think that kind of drew [my mom and me] to her.”

G has been unable to attend school for the past two years because she can’t afford a uniform. The only way for her to get to a public school is by city bus, which she is unable to take due to her young age.

Pullman acts as a mentor to G during her visits, encouraging her to study and read when she can. Pullman has also been trying to raise funds to get her a school uniform, while still bringing her clothes she needs.

In the future, Pullman plans to continue her volunteering in Detroit. Her plans to attend Oakland University will allow her to be able to continue her efforts downtown.

“I don’t think [college] will affect it at all,” she said.

The group is always looking for more volunteers and donations. Bread of Life is out at Third Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard every second Saturday of the month, ready to help.

“Every second Saturday,” Pullman said. “Even if it’s freezing.”

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