Why the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
In the early 1980's, the national organization of Little Brothers was interested in expanding to a rural area; they conducted studies of several areas in the U.S. including Houghton County, Mississippi Delta, and areas of Appalachia. Houghton County was selected for a number of reasons.
It contained a high population of elderly people, very few elderly services at the time, high unemployment rates which caused family members to relocate, and very harsh winters. This all contributed to a high population of lonely, isolated elderly who had little family support.
Why the U.P.?
The national average of people 60 and older is 16%. Here in Houghton County the percentage of those 60 and older is 22%. Many demographers predict the national average will rise dramatically in the next couple of generations. We're ahead of the national average because we are one of the first rust belts in the nation. Our industries have played out. Timbering and fishing have not generated significant employment in 30 years. Our underground copper mining had its heydays in the late 1800's, still employed large numbers as late as the 1940's, and steadily declined until the last mines closed in the late 1960's.
The largest consequence of this decline is that our young people leave the area to make a living. Normally, children look after their parents - they help them with grocery shopping, make sure they get to the doctor, visit regularly with the grandchildren, and help with housing maintenance and chores. Because of the economics of the area, many leave after high school or college graduation.
Calendar of Events
|14||Friends without Borders
||Food Bag Delivery Begins|
| May 2014