Saline Area Social Services purchased its current location on West Michigan Avenue for just one dollar. The former private home has been a good location for the charity for years, but as the large saline community has grown it has become increasingly apparent that it is simply too small to current needs, so it’s time to move.
“At this point, we’ve really outgrown the space we’re in. The last two years have been very difficult with Covid restrictions, increased donations, increased customers, [and] increase in staff, so we had to make a number of compromises. Our customers can no longer shop inside our establishment. There just isn’t enough space. We often meet them in the parking lot, in their cars and standing outside,” said SASS Chief Executive Anne Cummings. “We want to be able to do our job well and better serve our customers, our community. Recognizing this, we realized it was time for a bigger space.
The new 7,800 square foot location at 1259 Industrial Drive will allow the nonprofit to continue to need community members with groceries, toiletries, winter clothing and even school supplies under its 16-foot ceiling. The large and varied pantry will grow from being primarily in
a basement inside a brand new facility with two truck doors.
Nothing in life is free though. SASS collected 42% of the $850,000 they estimate the move will cost. The Mullick Foundation, which did not respond to requests for comment, made the largest donation: $150,000. About $100,000 came from the SASS board, according to their website. According to SASS, an additional $50,000 comes from the Towsley Foundation, $25,000 from the Detter Family Foundation and about $10,000 from the Bank of Ann Arbor.
The organization received the unambiguous support of Saline’s management.
“I think it’s a great decision for them. I’m really happy to see them grow and invest in the Saline community. I think people don’t often associate Saline with those in need. But if you know the numbers, there is a very large population of people who have what the federal government describes as low to middle income, that means they are near or within a certain percentage of the federal poverty lines We have a census block in our community where 66% of residents have low to moderate income, so this is a very essential service to support not only the town of Saline, but also the surrounding areas,” said said City Manager Colleen O’Toole.
You can donate to this cause if you wish at salinesocialservice.com. There is no minimum donation amount.
“I was involved with them for the better part of six months as they explored their options and plans for future expansion,” Saline Mayor Brian Marl said. “Social services in the Saline region are absolutely essential. As I have said many times in the past, we will all ultimately be judged on how we treat the marginalized, the victims, those struggling and fighting desperately to enter the middle class. I believe Saline Area Social Services provides vital services to those with a variety of economic needs. I think it’s very exciting that they’re moving. They have found a great space and we are delighted that they are staying in the town of Saline.
The new building is approximately 2.3 miles from the current location near Mill Pond. The new location will be located between the high school, the cinema and the railway line. The old building will be put up for sale once the move is complete.
Main image credit: Saline Region Social Service.