Anna Jackson isn’t just the DTE Energy operations manager at the Michigan Ave. Service Center in Ypsilanti; she also serves as a vital part of her local community, actively enriching the lives of older adults. Anna has found a unique platform to make a difference through her involvement with Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels (YMOW) and DTE’s Community Network.

“I’ve been with DTE since 2011, and I’ve had the opportunity to take on various roles,” shared Anna. “But my work as part of our Community Network has been the most fulfilling.”

DTE’s Community Network program connects employees with community-based organizations. “I was fascinated by the idea of supporting the community I work in at a grassroots level,” Anna continued.

Through this group, she found her way to YMOW, joining the board over the summer and diving headfirst into planning its upcoming 50th-anniversary celebrations in 2024. “YMOW is doing incredible work,” said Anna. “This year, they have served over 95,000 nutritious meals to 416 older adults, and being a part of that is truly rewarding,” she said.

“It’s not just about fundraising – it’s about bringing the community together, celebrating what we do, and supporting our Pets Assisting the Lives of Seniors (PALS) program,” she explained.

PALS provides care such as food, supplies, veterinary care, and grooming, allowing YMOW clients to enjoy the company of their pets without the physical and financial burdens that can make pet ownership difficult for homebound neighbors.

Anna understands the importance of uplifting the community and creating personal connections. “You make the most impact when people get to know you. At YMOW, it’s not just about delivering meals; it’s about building relationships and being a reliable source of support,” she emphasized.

YMOW’s average client is 73 years old with a monthly income of $989, while the average rental in the community is between $989 and $1,119 for 2023. With the cost of living only going up and 93% of YMOW clients living below the 200% poverty level, every contribution furthers the impact of their work.

When describing her decision to accept the board position, Anna reflected on YMOW’s community impact. “There are so many older adults in need, and many don’t have family support. YMOW provides food, a friendly face and a personal connection – it’s incredibly important,” she said.

Anna’s involvement is a powerful reminder of the importance of community involvement. “Every little bit of good we do adds up. Being a part of our Community Network and YMOW, I experience it every day. The 50th-anniversary campaign is bringing awareness to this challenge and asking people to give a little more of their time, talent or treasure to feed more older adults.

Anyone interested in learning more about the organization and upcoming events should visit the YMOW website.