Answering the Call in Lenawee County

Published on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 in Community

Lenawee County has been through a lot recently. Our team in Adrian has been keeping an eye on things and offering our help where we can.

On July 25, approximately 175 residents evacuated from Riverview Terrace, a 12-story senior living apartment building in Adrian. The Daily Telegram reported that a gap between six and nine inches was discovered between the floor and wall of a third-floor apartment while carpet was being removed. Investigators found other, similar cracks and determined the walls were pulling away from the floor. Emergency systems were implemented, and tenants were shuttled to nearby hotels.

riverview terrace
L to R: Judy Bays, Foster and Grandparent Director at DOA, MEC Adrian Operations Supervisor Kirk, Lenawee DOA Director Cari Rebottaro manage distributions for displaced seniors and disabled residents of Riverview Terrace.

Craig Tanis, Lenawee’s emergency management director, contacted us with some immediate case-by-case needs for nonprofits and agencies working to secure housing and necessary items for displaced residents.

On Day Two of the crisis, Cari Rebottaro, director of the Lenawee Department on Aging, called to ask if Midwest could provide a meal for 75 residents housed at a hotel in Dundee. We purchased grocery gift cards and delivered them to the Lenawee Department on Aging office.

About a week later, we were contacted again by Craig Tanis when he learned that several residents living in hotel rooms needed mini refrigerators to store meals and medicine such as insulin. One resident also required a small microwave. MEC purchased five mini refrigerators and one small microwave, which we delivered to the Adrian Senior Center.

Amid the evacuation needs, we also learned of a dire need at the Lenawee Humane Society. Animal rescues need to do a LOT of laundry and one washing machine owned by LHS broke down and could no longer be repaired. On top of this, LHS was assisting some Riverview Terrace residents with care of their animals while they were displaced, as well as the arrival of several beagles rescued from a breeding facility. Employees were taking laundry home just to keep up. MEC stepped forward with a donation to purchase a new washer to assist with day-to-day needs of the shelter.

Finally, in the early morning of Aug. 24, an arsonist broke a window at Associated Charities of Lenawee County and threw a flaming gas can into the building, according to Adrian police. Associated Charities was in the middle of its back-to-school giveaway, which provides around 350 Lenawee families with new clothing, backpacks, and school supplies. One hundred families had gone through on the first day of the giveaway, but the fire, smoke, and water ruined all remaining items.

WLEN and WQTE radio stations stepped into action with a two-day radio marathon. They asked the Lenawee community to provide gift cards and cash so the unserved families could be given shopping trips to gather the clothing and supplies that they needed for the school year. The response blew the roof off and the event raised $70,000 in just 48 hours. MEC purchased Meijer gift cards toward this initiative.