More than 50 families from Saline and neighboring communities will enjoy a brighter Christmas thanks to the generosity of Saline Rotary Club, the Mullick Foundation and Meijer.
On Saturday, 54 families visited the Meijer store on Ann Arbor-Saline Road for a modest shopping spree, children’s books and the makings of a holiday dinner.
Volunteers from Saline Rotary and the Mullick Foundation were on hand Saturday morning to greet families and guide them through the process. Meijer dedicated two employees and two checkout lines to the families. The event benefitted 54 families, including 162 children. Nine of the families were from Saline. The remainder were from Milan and Ann Arbor.
Saline Rotary donated $2,000 for the program. Mullick Foundation matched with a $4,000 donation, children’s books, and goods for a holiday dinner. Each family was given $40 of shopping money for every child. At one point, a family called in to report they might not make it because their vehicle had run out of gas. Rotarian Todd Lands drove out to help them.
The “Mullick Challenge” is the successor to the “Fagin Challenge.” For years, Jack Fagin, owner of Ann Arbor Clothing, challenged Ann Arbor Rotarians to raise money so less fortunate families could enjoy Christmas. Fagin matched their donation. In 2001, Fagin brought his challenge to the Saline Rotary Club. In 2013, Fagin died at the age of 97. Fagin’s family lived on the west side of the state and couldn’t keep the challenge going. So, the Mullick foundation stepped up.
The Mullick Foundation was formed in 2001 by Dilip Mullick, founder of Saline’s PSMI and Ann Arbor’s Ewie. The companies provide engineering and commodity management services in manufacturing.
“When Jack Fagin passed away, Rotary was looking for a way to keep this challenge going. Dilip Mullick volunteered,” said Rick Mullick, a director of the Mullick Foundation. “We already support Saline Area Social Service, but we wanted to do more for the holidays. We made a contribution the first year. The next year we added books for the kids and that was a big hit. This year we added the Butterball gift certificate and some boxes for side dishes so families can have a good holiday meal. Next year, we’re going to find a way to do even more.”
Rotary Club member Jill Durnen said she’s glad the Mullick Foundation stepped up. She fondly recalls spending Saturday mornings at Meijer with Jack and Betty Fagin.
“They really enjoyed helping all the kids and they were so much fun,” Durnen said.
Durnen was one of several volunteers who helped families as they arrived.
“When I got here this morning a little girl came up to me and gave me a big hug,” Durnen said. “We spend a few hours on a Saturday morning to make Christmas brighter for 162 kids.”