Spurred into action by the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders of 25-plus local Indian organizations created the Michigan Indian Community Service Group (MICS) to serve the Indian-American community during this time of crisis. MICS is a collective initiative with the mission of uniting the Indian-American community in order to effectively meet local needs in response to the unprecedented epidemic. Currently, over 100 volunteers, including youth, are involved. Within the organization, groups of professional experts and task forces have been created to address the multiple needs in the community. MICS has established a general hotline (248-660-0252) as well as a dedicated medical hotline (248-873-2020) staffed by practicing physicians.
The following projects are currently being managed by MICS:
Senior Citizen Assist:
This task force is providing support for our vulnerable populations. Senior Citizen Assist’s mission is to provide physical and emotional help and support to seniors in the metro Detroit area during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- Providing help in ordering groceries online and delivery
- Providing help in learning technology (e.g. downloading and using various apps)
- Conducting online classes, sessions, group activities and entertainment programs (online yoga/meditation classes, Antakshari sessions, online concerts/games and more)
- Conducting regular online meetings with various themes to keep seniors educated and entertained
International Student Group:
This task force aims to support and aid international students across various colleges and universities in Michigan. The group works to survey the needs of these students affected by the unforeseen pandemic. It works with liaisons on each campus and connects MICS resources to fulfill their requests, including groceries and masks.
Small Business Support:
This task force’s mission is to share resources to support the business community facing unique challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The group will act as an information repository for businesses and individual families throughout MICS volunteers and other support groups.
Meals For Healthcare Heroes:
The MICS-supported Meals for Healthcare Heroes program (#mealsforhealthcareheroes) is a collective effort of the Indian American community to show solidarity and support for our healthcare workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals served include Beaumont (Wayne, Royal Oak, Farmington Hills, Taylor), St. Mary Mercy (Livonia), Providence (Novi, Southfield) and MediLodge (Southfield). Over 1,500 meals have been served, as of April 24.
Medical Professionals Group:
As confirmed cases are still on the rise nationwide, there is a continued increase in need for medical advice and assistance throughout our communities. This pandemic has prompted a group of physicians to join hands in establishing a medical hotline (248-873-2020) targeted at providing the Indian-American community with a realtime platform to discuss symptoms with a physician and receive answers to any medical concerns related to COVID-19. Over the past several weeks, the group has been able to provide hundreds with COVID-19 guidance, offer prescriptions for those impacted by travel restrictions, address the health concerns of parents visiting from India and stuck in the United States, and assist seniors as they are forced to rework and rebuild their daily routines.
Plasma Donation Request:
MICS is working with Sewa International’s COVID-19 Plasma Registry and the Red Cross Convalescent Plasma Donation center to spread the request for plasma donations. If you know of anyone that has had COVID-19 and is fully recovered, they are eligible to be entered into the plasma database or to donate plasma, which can be helpful for COVID-19 patients, often tipping the scales in favor of recovery. Links to each registry are available on the MICS website, micsgroup.org
Masks and PPE Initiative:
The task force will provide masks to facilities in Detroit who are in need. MICS has partnered with students from University of Michigan who formed the Blue Mask Initiative, to raise funds from their peers using social media platforms. These students also mentor younger high school and middle school students interested in joining this initiative. Together with these funds and also from our larger community, MICS hopes to secure and deliver personal protection equipment.
Additionally, MICS hosts information sessions by experts on topics including immigration and small business issues. To find out more, visit micsgroup.org. The group is also on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn). Donations can also be made on the website.
by Radhika Shukla & Shweta Shah