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State Honoree

Emma Eimers

New Haven, Michigan

Emma Eimers, 13, of New Haven, Mich., a seventh-grader at Endeavour Middle School, has been helping her older brother feed Detroit’s homeless and hungry once a week since she was 5 years old — and, noticing that many had pets, started her own project to make sure that they, too, get a healthy meal. The pair started volunteering when a friend of their grandmother asked if they would hand out warm blankets at a homeless shelter. The siblings were so saddened by what they saw, they knew they had to do more. Before long, they were delivering food, toiletries and clothing every week. One day Emma, who wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up, noticed three adults sitting in front of a tent. “They had the biggest Rottweiler dog I had ever seen,” she said. “The owners said they tried to give him some of the food we share with them, but they sometimes didn’t eat for days. He asked if I had any dog food.” That’s when Emma decided to take care of homeless animals, too.

With the help of family, she and her brother started The Eimers Foundation. In the beginning, they used birthday and Christmas money and did chores to buy what they could, but soon they were fundraising on their website and through social and news media. Once a week, they shop for groceries, pet food, toiletries and outerwear. They then put together packages to hand out to people in need and cook a meal, which they transport an hour each way to the inner city. On an average week, they serve about 200 people and their pets. Since they began, they have raised more than $90,000 through donations and award money. In addition to feeding people living in poverty, their foundation has paid for life-saving surgeries for sick animals, donated to animal shelters and the Detroit Mounted Police Horses, helped homeless people find housing, and started an annual scholarship for a homeless high school senior.