Volunteers with Hazel Park Neighborhood Enrichment are greeted by librarians at the Hazel Park District Library. The library received one of HPNE’s final donations.

Volunteers with Hazel Park Neighborhood Enrichment are greeted by librarians at the Hazel Park District Library. The library received one of HPNE’s final donations.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Hazel Park Neighborhood Enrichment makes final donations

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published July 9, 2023


HAZEL PARK — Hazel Park Neighborhood Enrichment recently disbanded, but still has funds to spend. Now, those remaining monies are going to be split between three recipients.

The Hazel Park District Library, Hazel Park Animal Control and Hazel Park Public Schools will each receive $1,100 from HPNE. The donation to the library will fund adult programs and materials, while the donation to the shelter will cover medical costs and supplies, and the donation to the school district will be used for community swim hours at Hazel Park High School.

Darlene Shaughnessy, HPNE’s vice president, said the club disbanded because its members had other obligations. Many of its members will continue to volunteer in the community on an individual basis. Before leaving the club, however, the members needed to decide how the leftover funds would be distributed.

“Years before us, there was another group that was similar, and when they stopped, they left money in the bank that was eventually turned over to the state,” Shaughnessy said. “So, when we were talking about disbanding, we decided that any money we had left, we’d return it to the people, since they donated it to us to benefit the community in the first place.”

She said that members brainstormed 15 worthwhile causes that were then narrowed down to five finalists, after which the members voted, and three recipients were decided.

Jennifer Thomas, the animal control officer for Hazel Park, said that half of the contribution to the shelter will be sent to Wilson’s Veterinary Hospital, paying for the treatment of a dog named Mario that was recently diagnosed with heartworm. The other half will go toward gift cards, allowing the shelter to buy needed supplies including food, collars, toys, treats and more.

“This contribution comes at a pivotal time when we have record numbers of animals coming in, and very low numbers getting adopted out,” Thomas said via email. “At times like these, when we have maximum numbers of animals, contributions like these allow us to continue to take the absolute best care of our dogs and cats.”

She said the shelter is always in need of cleaning supplies such as bleach and paper towels. With kitten season underway, the shelter can also use Purina dry kitten food and Fancy Feast wet kitten food, as well as non-clumping kitty litter. Volunteers are also needed. Hazel Park Animal Control is located at 24211 Couzens Ave., and can be reached by calling (248) 546-4096.

Amy Kruppe, the superintendent of the Hazel Park Public Schools, said she appreciates the donation from HPNE.

“With the renovations completed, we are excited to open up our pool to the community for two days a week,” Kruppe said via email. “Having this generous donation of dollars to purchase stairs makes this a great transition for our community.”

The pool at Hazel Park High, at 23400 Hughes Ave., is accessible via the athletic entrance and open to the public this summer every Monday and Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., now through Aug. 23. The cost is free, but children must be supervised by parents. A lifeguard will be on duty, and there is a limit of 50 swimmers at a time.

“We will miss the Neighborhood Enrichment committee,” Kruppe said. “They have been amazing volunteers and partners in Hazel Park for the eight years I’ve been present.”

As for the donation to the library, located at 123 E. Nine Mile Road, part of the funds have already gone toward a recent screening for a documentary about Detroit’s Boblo boats. The librarians are considering additional uses, such as purchasing emergency oxygen tanks for patrons with breathing difficulties. The funds could also be used to pay for more materials, databases and presentations.

In a conference call with the library director Corrine Stocker, and librarians Amy Beem and Randy Ernst-Meyer, all three shared praise for Shaughnessy and HPNE.

“We really appreciate the donation,” Beem said. “I always see Darlene out there working on the flower beds (at the library), and we just really appreciate that, too — it saves us so much time.”

“Darlene is amazing — one of the most selfless people I’ve met,” Ernst-Meyer said. “I think their group (HPNE) has evolved, rather than breaking up — they’ve turned to projects that each of them can accomplish individually. They’re just spreading out, doing their work in a different way.

“Since more and more people suffer from asthma, the suggestion was made that we use some of these funds to invest in safety equipment,” he added. “When I was at a hardware store, I saw that they carry disposable oxygen tanks. Darlene and I talked about it, and she thought it might be a good idea here. We already have paddles, in case someone has a cardiac problem, and first aid kits, too — all kinds of equipment available for our patrons, if certain emergencies occur.”

“Our staff has even had active shooter training,” Stocker said. “We also received a fresh shipment of COVID tests the other day.”

Ernst-Meyer added, “Our library is the community. We’re here for people in need. And that’s the spirit of (HPNE), too. It’s about ensuring the well-being of the community.”