What was just supposed to be a fun trip to a baseball game in downtown Detroit turned into almost a decade of volunteerism for two siblings nine years ago. After feeling shocked by the dozens of homeless people he saw near the stadium, Robby Eimers, then-eight years old, was spurred into action to start bringing water bottles and other food to pass out to those in need. After inspiring others to contribute to his campaign, Robby, who is now 17, started the Eimers Foundation to provide food, clothing and support for the homeless within his area. His younger sister Emma, who is 13, joined him and even started her own division of the foundation, Furry Friends, which gathers food and supplies to pass out to homeless animals.
Robby says thousands of volunteers have helped the Eimers Foundation, which now passes out 200 hot meals, water and other items to the homeless every Saturday. The foundation has also reached out to help others, such as passing out clean water to those in need in Flint, MI and providing monetary support to families in need.
For showing unwavering dedication and support to those in need, Robby and Emma are today’s Daily Point of Light Award recipients. Points of Light spoke to them to learn more about the Eimers Foundation.
Describe your volunteer role with The Eimers Foundation.
Robby: Usually we go down to Detroit, we’ll pass out 200 hot meals, water, food, clothes, stuff like that [to the homeless].
How did the Eimers Foundation start?
Robby: You know how if you’re driving to see a baseball game, you’ll see one homeless person chilling outside the baseball game? Well one day we were going down to see the game and I saw all the homeless people down the street and there were so many people down there, I just thought, we have to do something about it. There were like 50 people, it was just crazy to me, I didn’t know there was that many people. From there, we started bringing two, three packs of water, apples, just little stuff.
Can you describe to me what a typical distribution day is like?
Robby: My grandpa works down there so usually he gets over there before us. He sets up a few tables, we bring all the stuff down and set it up. Sometimes they pray before we eat. We pass out all the food and stuff and usually we will chill down there for like an hour or two and we’ll talk to all the people and catch up with people.
We always make sure we have about 200 hot meals and drinks. My grandma and sister and me will prepare it the night before or get pizza in the morning.
Emma: Or chicken in the morning.
Robby: Usually it’s just in front of a homeless shelter down in Detroit, but we help people everywhere. We went to Flint, MI and we passed out a couple thousand water bottles. We help around everywhere.
Can you describe the reaction of the people you’re helping?
Robby: They’re very thankful that we come down and help and that someone is there.
Can you talk to me about Furry Friends?
Emma: When I used to go down with Robby, I was five so I wasn’t really into it as much. And then I saw most of them had pets and they didn’t have food for them so I started bringing food and supplies for their dogs and cats.
What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?
Robby: There’s a lot of things I’ve learned. A lot of those people down there, they’re really smart and they want to get jobs. I know a lot of them have PH.d’s, it’s just like their houses burned down and stuff like that.
Emma: A lot of people don’t get to have what I have or what many people I know have.
Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
Robby: I just think it’s good to give back to your community. I think everybody should help one another.
Emma: If we didn’t help out each other, there wouldn’t really be an actual nice place [to live].
What do you want people to learn from your story?
Robby: To go out and do their own thing, whatever they’re passionate about. It doesn’t have to be helping the homeless or needy, it can be anything, like how Emma likes to help animals more. Just go out and do what you’re passionate about.
When you first started handing out water bottles all those years ago, do you think you could have ever imagined this would turn into starting your own foundation?
Robby: No. We were just bringing down a couple, two packs and water and stuff like that and now we bring down five, six tables worth of stuff. It’s crazy…It was really just people seeing what I’m doing and wanting to help out.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Robby and Emma? Click here for local volunteer opportunities.