Buckets of Rain began in 2006 by providing drip-irrigation technology to villages, hospitals, and schools in Lesotho in southern Africa, as well as Kenya, Honduras, and Guatemala.
In 2012, after visiting Detroit and seeing the unprecedented levels of urban blight , we refocused our efforts closer to home. BoR now dedicates 95% of their time and resources to feeding the hungry and homeless in Detroit- with food grown in the midst of these blighted neighborhoods.
Our primary efforts are focused on growing vegetables in our one acre "Big Glen" garden in Highland Park. It is less than a mile from 4 large homeless shelters. Since 2012, "Big Glen" has produced hundreds-of-thousands of servings of fresh produce not only for the shelter kitchens, but patients of the SAY Clinic, and our neighbors. Big Glen is located on a once abandoned but now reclaimed parking lot and uses 600 raised bed containers donated by General Motors. It is a model of how blight can be turned into efficient urban agriculture.
In fall of 2017 we began a program called “Clinic to Farm to Patient”. The SAY Clinic, founded by Mitch Albom Charities, provides free health care to uninsured women and children in Detroit/Highland Park. “Clinic to Farm to Patient” enables SAY Clinic staff to write “prescriptions” for patients with diet related health issues such as diabetes or obesity. These patients/program participants then visit our Big Glen garden or the SAY Clinic to be given a week’s worth of the recommended vegetables- year round- and free. After 5 ‘prescription’ fills the patient must return to their health care provider for a check up and a new prescription. We currently serve 50 patients total and 25 weekly but have the capacity for many, many more.
Buckets of Rain also provides the vegetables for the weekly “Free Food Friday” distribution to our neighbors. We collaborate with Wayne Metro Community Action Agency, who staffs the event and keeps the data on visits and pounds of vegetables dispersed.
We have also created a Mom and kids garden within easy walking distance of Big Glen Garden. “Isla’s Garden” is completely fenced in, is self-serve, and even has some toys for the children to play with while mom harvests. It is located on 5 repurposed blighted lots on Glendale in Highland Park. It is very popular!!!
Buckets of Rain is currently partnering in the establishment of a coalition of Highland Park nonprofits consisting of the SAY Clinic, Avalon Village, Wayne Metro, the Detroit to Nepal Foundation and WNUC. These charitable organizations all bring different and valuable assets to the table and are working together to clean up and unite the community and raise awareness of what each has to offer.
BoR receives 5000 hours of volunteer service annually. Volunteers come from all segments of society, corporate groups, churches, schools, and our neighbors. These volunteers, along with a staff of 4 paid employees and an annual budget of $125,000 dollars enables our yearly production and distribution of 175,000 servings of vegetables to 3,500 of Detroit’s neediest citizens.