DETROIT - For the past several months, Reverend Gloriane Hymon Wiley, or as most folks call her, Gloria, has been serving as the Interim Executive Director of the Friendship House in Hamtramck. Friendship House is an 83-year-old organization that has served as a community resource center for more generations than it can count. It is a busy bee hive daily with individuals going and coming. Situated in the heart of Hamtramck, FH serves a very diverse population, it is literally like a little 'united nations of folks'.
Programs include FH Spring Community Baby Shower, the Stork Club, where they reached out to 50 pregnant women from the community. There is the Harvest House Pantry Club, where on certain days of the week, residents come in and get to load up shopping carts with good,fresh food, bread and canned goods. On this particular day I observe a very smooth operation of food distribution. Folks come in, register, receive a number and sit in the waiting room until number called. Then they go in the back from table to table,bin to bin to bin collecting food. Everyone leaves with a smile.
Not only do they provide a myriad of services, they also collaborate with such other organization as FOCUS: HOPE and Forgotten Harvest. Once a month they serve as a soup kitchen where local churches volunteer serving, and they have a school supply give away for local children. Because they have a very small budget to operate on, community volunteers carry quite a load of support.
Gloria originally was a banker, she has as Master in Business Adminstration. Her bank did some down sizing, she got laid off and was unemployed for a significant amount of time. She was serving on the Board of FH, but she soon realized that she personally needed some of the services. She resigned form the Board and became a client. She says that taught her a lot about the daily struggle that folks have to go through to survive, for this was now her.
After several months she received a call that a position was available with FH and was she interested. She says she prayed over it and it became clear where her path was going. She now works countless hours helping and assisting those who " are the least of us." Board member Kathleen Ninivaggi states, " Because of the many that we serve, we have to embark upon a capital campaign for renovation. Somehow we have to raise at least $350,000. in order to meet the needs of those who need us."
As Gloria reflects , she remembers her mother going through out the community helping and giving to others. She says she didn't know her family was poor until she went away to college. Then she recognized that she wanted to be in a position to give back, just like her mother. As a banker she made four times as much as she makes now...but she is 100 times happier at what she does.
Rev. Gloriane Hymon Wiley is truly Making A Difference as a Every Day Hero.
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