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Posted on Sun, Oct 30, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

Warm the Children and Avalon Housing help the neighbors you may not realize need assistance

By Ann Dwyer

How well do you know your neighbors? Would you know if they were in need? You might like to think so, but the fact is, you may not.

“People might not notice that we have the same problems as the rest of the country,” said Scott Phillips, youth program director at Avalon Housing. “These problems are right here in our back yard.”

Avalon works hard make sure the houses it provides to low-income residents are no different than any others in the neighborhood. Phillips is aware that people might have an image of what public housing looks like, and that’s why Avalon works hard to dispel that notion.

“You would never know you are living next to one of our houses,” Phillips said. Houses are spread throughout different Ann Arbor neighborhoods.

He noted that the families the organization helps range from those just getting out of homelessness to single parents and those with special needs who are on a fixed income. The poor economy and rise in joblessness has caused many more families to need assistance.

Phillips has been with Avalon since 2007. He started as an intern, and during that time he was able to shop with families. An important aspect of Avalon, Phillips said, is that it strives to work one-on-one with the families. The ability to engage with the families through WTC “builds a really good relationship,” he said.

Avalon Housing gets 100 vouchers, and Phillips estimates the organization is able to help 40 families. Each child who qualifies gets a voucher worth $90. These vouchers are handled by the shoppers who go with the families to Target.

“I think it’s a wonderful program,” Phillips said. He thinks it is very important for people to realize that 100 percent of their donations go toward buying warm clothes for children in need. and our fiscal partner United Bank & Trust absorb all overhead costs. We also work with the Ann Arbor Community Foundation to ensure that donations are handled responsibly.

We want to make it easy for you donate, so we have several ways to ease the process.

For your convenience, online donations are accepted using the online donation form on the WTC webpage. However, credit card processing fees apply to donations made online. Visit to find out more about the program, to donate online or to volunteer to be a shopper.

If you want 100 percent of your donation to go to Warm the Children, download a form at and mail it with a check or money order to Warm the Children c/o United Bank & Trust, P.O. Box 1127, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1127.

You can also help by coming to the Community Space at 301 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. For a $1.25 donation, you can get a cup of coffee from one of our great local roasters.

United Bank and Trust locations in Washtenaw County also serve as drop-off centers for donations.


J Shaker

Thu, Nov 3, 2011 : 2:22 a.m.

Sounds like a terrific program, and I'm a big fan of Avalon Housing. You do a ton and your work is fantastic.