We received our 501(c) (3) status

Heart 2 Hart Detroit received our 501(c) (3) status from the Internal Revenue Service. We are now classified as a public charity. All donations are tax deductible.

We Appreciated Tigers Icons, But Did We Care About Them?

DEADLINE DETROIT  |  August 3rd, 2013, 5:39 PM

Mark Jacobs, an attorney and longtime community activist, is involved in nonprofit work and is chairman of Heart 2 Hart Detroit, a nonprofit organization committed to feeding and clothing Detroit’s homeless population.

By Mark Jacobs

Mark Jacobs, an attorney and longtime community activist, is involved in nonprofit work and is chairman of Heart 2 Hart Detroit, a nonprofit organization committed to feeding and clothing Detroit’s homeless population.

““Dreadlock Mike” Alston was buried on Saturday, alongside his street pal, James Van Horn. The two homeless men were fixtures outside the Tigers’ games.

The fans affectionately called out their names, gave them spare change and shared a brief smile as they entered and exited the ballpark.

And when the fans were gone, Eat Em Up and Dreadlock Mike were alone again, roaming the streets in search of food, warmth and shelter, until one summer night when a driver killed them both and drove away.

Eat Em Up’s funeral was on Friday and Mike’s was on Saturday. I was at Mike’s funeral. A nonprofit group I’m with, Heart 2 Hart Detroit, had helped Mike out from time to time, and we felt compelled to attend the funeral and pay our respects.
The funeral was attended by approximately 40 people, a mixed crowd of ages and races, each having their own reasons to be there. Mike’s family recalled the man the public never knew, the Mike who had no catchy nickname, and for 30 minutes or so we heard a piece of Mike Alston’s story.

Mike was 55, the eldest of 5 children. He was educated in Detroit Public Schools and later worked at Chrysler. His sister tearfully recalled her big brother’s big heart and his over-protectiveness over her when they were kids.

She told us how her brother never stopped trying to turn his life around. She and a cousin told stories of Mike’s boyhood and alluded to a “traumatic teenage experience” that led him to life on the mean streets of Detroit.

There was a powerful eulogy, some poignant comments from an old friend of Mike’s, State Senator Bert Johnson, and then lots of hugs from strangers to the gracious family.

But beyond the warmth of the moment, it was the unsaid words that were most profound: what happened to this man, and where were we when it was happening?

Mike was 1 of 20,000 homeless people in Detroit, a mass of people that includes children, veterans, the mentally ill and other victims.

In death, Mike was praised as a Detroit icon, a man who alongside his buddy were  part of the colorful and  fun experience of going to a Tigers’ game.

They were the guys you’d high five, yell out their name and maybe toss them a quarter as you flooded in and out of a game. But, in reality, as we exited to the suburbs these two men went back to their struggle for survival. And then one summer night they died a violent death.

So where were we? And where are we today with the other thousands of other homeless people who  are hungry, tired, vulnerable  and frightened at this very moment you’re reading these words?

“What are we doing? What are we doing?”, State Senator Johnson implored the crowd.

It was the question of the day, and of these harsh times in our beloved but troubled city.

Heart 2 Hart are regular guys helping the homeless


by Terry Foster

Detroit — His name is Eric and he wore a sport jacket and neck tie Wednesday. His new attire symbolizes the transition in his life.

Eric and other homeless came to meet the good folks at Heart 2 Hart Detroit, a group of area folks that distribute clothes, food and love every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Hart Plaza and other places around downtown Detroit.

Eric said he is a former drug addict and alcoholic that spent nights in Hart Plaza. He was lost in life aimlessly roaming the streets downtown, grabbing hobo showers in Cobo Arena when the bathrooms opened in the morning.

Now he is in transition housing and hopes to have a permanent home soon. He is also looking for a job. Eric is one of the main reasons why I’ve decided to make Hart 2 Heart Detroit one of two organizations that I plan to help as we try to try to battle this homeless problem in Detroit.

I was told there are 20,000 homeless in Metro Detroit and there are 1,900 beds for them.

I met Chairman Mark Jacobs and Founder Larry Oleinick from Heart 2 Hart to see the work they do. They packed cars with boxed lunches of a turkey or peanut butter sandwiches and socks. They even got a case of T-shirts from the Detroit Pistons this day. They do this every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noon rain, snow or sun.

They are just a bunch of regular people that need help to help others. They told me they are barely making it and I want us all to join in and help them with their mission of feeding the homeless and helping them get off the streets.

They need food, socks, gloves, jackets, sleeping bags, baby wipes and have a new request of cologne. Their website is h2hd.org and I ask that you visit their site to see how you can help. I plan to donate and champion their causes to my 45,000 followers on twitter, face book and on this blog.

Every little bit helps.

I wanted to do this after seeing so many homeless laying on the streets downtown near steam vents as I walked to my car after Lions games. The jolt to finally act happened when two Detroit sports icons, the Eat ‘Em Up Tigers guy and Dreadlock Mike were killed when they were hit by a car.

It was time for me to do something to help.

I found a similar group that goes out into the streets. I will tell you about that group on Friday.

(Join me tonight at Dirty Jerseys in Windsor (7:30 – 9:30 pm) as I sell and sign my book 100 Things Tiger Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die. Books are $15 or two for $25 and part of the proceeds will help Heart 2 Hart Detroit.)