Jennifer Jackson created the Dre Project in memory of her sister, Andrea Kristin Jackson.

Jennifer Jackson created the Dre Project in memory of her sister, Andrea Kristin Jackson.

Photo provided by Jennifer Jackson


The Dre Project Brings Light into the Community

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 20, 2023

BIRMINGHAM — Following an intense time of grieving, Birmingham resident Jennifer Jackson started The Dre Project in memory of her sister, Andrea Kristin Jackson, who passed away in 2013.

Andrea went by “Dre,” which inspired the name of the project her sister started. Jackson describes her sister as a “light warrior” who was always looking for ways to help people. The Dre Project was created in her honor and continues to share light and positivity throughout the community in need.

Faith has played a major role in the founding of The Dre Project. Jackson grew up Catholic, but when she lost her sister, she said she lost her faith as well.

“I was in a really really dark place when I lost my sister, and I went into that dark place for five years,” Jackson said.

However, after several years, she found herself coming out of this darkness once she began involving herself with a local church.

Jackson got in the rhythm of helping people in her church and community, leading her to collaborate with a caterer who provided her with meals to bring to grieving families.

Officially incorporated Jan. 4, 2021, The Dre Project soon began providing meals to homeless families, in addition to grieving families.

At this time, they were providing families with two meals a week for up to three months at a time. It got to the point where they were delivering 220 meals a week. Naturally, the rapid growth caused burnout, leading The Dre Project to pivot.

They decided to connect with Humble Design Detroit, a Pontiac-based nonprofit that takes donations of gently used household items and furniture to fully furnish homes for clients transitioning out of homelessness.

The Dre Project decided to work alongside Humble Design Detroit to provide a stocked pantry and a home-cooked meal to clients.

“It was a need that was not being filled because a lot of times our clients didn’t have any food in the cupboard,” Operations Manager Leslie Johns said. “Not only did they not have any furnishings, but they had very little as far as food.”

Humble Design Detroit does not have the ability to accept food donations, so this filled a gap in their services.

“One of the most important things we do is set a dining room table, and now with The Dre Project, they have something to fill the dishes with,” Johns said.

The Dre Project is now delivering to 40 families per month. Jackson said they deliver 36 bulk-sized essential dry goods and a home-cooked meal to each family.

“We are cut from the same cloth,” Johns said. “We are all trying to do our part to fill the needs that are out there.”

Humble Design Detroit relies heavily on donations and volunteers. To learn more, visit humbledesign.org.

In addition to working with Humble Design Detroit, The Dre Project also works alongside The New Day Foundation, the Blood Cancer Foundation of Michigan and the Community Housing Network.

Jackson said she has had the opportunity to partner with several local organizations through The Dre Project. For instance, Therapeutic Rehab of Michigan sends its patients to Jackson once a week to help with stocking, inventory and graphic design.

“I’ve just been blessed, because it’s like everybody is coming out of the woodwork,” Jackson said. “So many people keep coming to me to help, it’s just incredible.”

Jackson said they will deliver to anyone who comes to their website and requests help; however, they will only deliver one time. They are not an ongoing solution, like a food pantry.

She said they are currently looking for sponsorships with local businesses.

“When somebody comes to my website, the only information I ask for them is their name, their address and their phone number, and we’re going to deliver to them,” Jackson said. “We’re not going to ask any more questions. So, the only way for us to continually do that for everybody is to stay private fundraising-based. We’re doing that through donations, and now we’re looking at creating sponsorships with local businesses.”

The Dre Project is also always open to anyone who wants to help volunteer. They are willing to work with volunteers to create a schedule that works for them. They also accept donations on their website.

More information about The Dre Project can be found at thedreproject.org.