DETROIT – A Detroit grassroots organization needs your help after their mobile unit was stolen over the weekend.
Hey Yall Detroit painted its logo on the side of a 2004 Black Chevy Trailblazer to deliver groceries, transport children’s books for their pop-up library, and help families get to doctor appointments.
It’s not the stolen truck that has them so upset, it’s what was inside that is breaking the hearts of so many.
The SUV was stolen near St. Clair and Kercheval Avenues. Friday (Sept. 2) night, the SUV was parked in front of the home of Charmane Neal, Hey Yall Detroit founder. It was packed for a back-to-school event and by Saturday morning, it was gone.
“People didn’t eat on Monday,” said Charmane Neal. “That’s how important Hey Yall Detroit is to the community. People didn’t eat because we couldn’t get it to them.
Neal started the organization in June 2020.
“I really love giving back to the community, and people depend on me,” Neal said. “And it’s like my feet have just been cut from up under me.”
Neal said she stopped by their storage unit Friday night, packed up the Trailblazer, and then parked it outside her home, only for it to be stolen hours later. Her Ring camera caught the suspects driving away.
Now, more than 50 backpacks filled with school supplies are gone and more than $1,200 worth of books that were just purchased to give to children are gone.
“You didn’t just steal a truck, you stole from the community. You stole books, backpacks, and then it’s what the truck represents,” Neal said. “Kids look to us for those things. They get excited when they see Hey, Yall let’s read, which is our pop-up library.”
She’s filed a police report, but said there’s a bigger concern. Two weeks ago, Neal’s personal car was broken into and neighbors are having the same problem.
“This block, in particular, has been hit so many times,” Neal said. “It’s not just me. My neighbor’s house we’re standing in front of right now she has been hit five times to the point her car isn’t even out here anymore because she had to go to desperate measures to keep herself safe. It is ridiculous.”
Neal is confident this incident break their spirits.
“We will go on and have a free farmers market,” Neal said. “We will go on and have pop-up library’s and the Halloween event that we grow every year. We’re still going to continue to do that. This is just a minor setback.”
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