The country got to learn something cool about Detroit the other night. Two things really … Detroit Soup and The Empowerment Plan.
To those who’ve covered or been in Detroit for a while, Amy Kaherl and Veronika Scott might be names you’ve heard of. Or you may have a friend who knows of them through their work at Detroit Soup or the Empowerment Plan.
But now, more people know about their work thanks to NBC Nightly News. These organizations making a change in Detroit were highlighted on the NBC Nightly News “Making A Difference” segment Wednesday (Jan. 2). The aired segment focuses on Detroit Soup, and there’s also a web-only clip that is an extended piece on the Empowerment Plan.
If you don’t know Detroit Soup, you should. It works simply – and we’ve covered it before – but in a nutshell you go, you pay $5, get soup, salad and a vote. Multiple people or groups talk about their ideas, and then during dinner, you vote for the idea you think is the best. The winner gets the proceeds – somewhere around $1000, but one of the times I went was about $850. It happens every month, and you can check out their website here to find out the latest dish.
The Empowerment Plan is the brainchild of Veronika Scott, a clothing designer who designed self-contained jackets for the homeless. She realized it’s not just about jackets but long term it’s about turning things around in the city and it’s about jobs. The Empowerment plan gives homeless women jobs. The make the self-heated, waterproof coats that transforms into a sleeping bag at night. The goals: Create jobs for those who desire them and coats for those who need them at no cost.
The goals of the Empowerment Plan are:
- to employ homeless females within the city of Detroit
- to give the coats to individuals living on the streets
- to establish trust and communication with individuals deemed by the shelters as unreachable in the homeless community
- to teach sewing manufacturing/ production skills to people that need jobs
- to offer a sense of pride to the women who have been employed in the production of the coats
Amazingly, after Detroit Soup Scott got funding for nine months just from the donation button on her site, according to the NBC report. The Empowerment Plan is located in the Ponyride collaborative space in Corktown.
It’s good to see continued coverage of the doers of this city. Yes, there are all kinds of challenges, but as Veronika said in her interview, “it’s dirty, it’s messy, but if you’re willing to put in that time and put in that creativity, you’ve got a lot of people willing to back you and support you.”
BONUS NBC NEWS VIDEO – VERONIKA SCOTT INTERVIEW
BONUS NBC NEWS VIDEO – AMY KAHERL INTERVIEW