Shelly Penzien worked in New Haven schools when she noticed certain kids coming to class without socks or coats. A little research found they were kids whose families were living at or below the poverty level.
So Shelly did what she could, initially by making sure the neediest kids at least had a Christmas. Three decades later, Shelly’s foray into philanthropy has grown into the Macomb Charitable Foundation, which assists hundreds of homeless or poverty-stricken children each year.
Homeless kids in Macomb County? Yes, unfortunately. Lots of them. Perhaps as many as 1,500 by some estimates. They live in shelters, motels, even vehicles.
However big the number, it doesn’t matter to Shelly nearly as much as a smaller one: 25. That’s how many request letters the Macomb Charitable Foundation gets on an average day—from teachers, churches, social service agencies … sometimes kids themselves.
It’s not just about Christmas anymore. Nowadays, the foundation helps with food, rent, utilities, school supplies, car repair—whatever it takes to help kids who desperately need a break.
There’s no government funding. All money comes from donations and fundraisers. And since the foundation is run solely by volunteers, every penny goes to help kids.
As First State Bank celebrates its centennial anniversary this year, we also want to celebrate the people and organizations who, with caring hearts and hard work, change lives in our community. We’re honored to donate $5,000 to the Macomb Charitable Foundation, our first of six donations in 2017. Thank you for making our hometown a place where good people do great things.