Welfare Association


Among the many departments set up by the Planning Committee of the Hartland Area Project was that of Health, Education and Welfare. This was headed by Marguerite, the wife of John Robert Crouse Jr. This department had as its chief objective: the decrease of sickness and contagious diseases, the creation of good will throughout the area through sharing with one another where there was need, and the restoration of the less fortunate families to self-sufficiency. Its recreation department aimed to help build character by providing enjoyable activities that would make leisure time an asset.

A Welfare Board was created. Each fall they began their campaign with a potluck dinner and plans were made for the year. These annual gatherings lasted for more than 25 years. Much of the Board's work was administered through donations and volunteer committees.

During the Depression food and clothing were collected and distributed wherever there was a need. Hundreds of quarts of tomatoes were canned for the school lunch program. Bushels of potatoes and other vegetables were donated for the same purpose by farm families. In June, 1939 a canning Co-op was formed and rules for operating the Hartland Area Canning Center established. A letter from Mr. Crouse was sent to the group noting."I am very much interested in this cooperative enterprise for through it I am sure the practical results aimed at will be achieved and we shall study and learn the theory and practice of cooperative, social and economic action."

Other accomplishments of the Welfare Board were administering preventative immunizations for children and a detailed study of proper lighting in the home. The study was performed in 1941 in cooperation with Detroit Edison. A cotton mattress program was launched in the county and residents in rural Hartland participated in the spring of 1941.

Hartland residents decided in 1937 that they needed a recreation center for the youth and adults of the community. The Welfare Board and the Hartland Area Advisory Board agreed to launch a campaign to provide local recreational facilities.

When the period of greatest welfare need was over the group joined the umbrella of the ommunity Chest in 1953. This was done to combine groups associated with soliciting donations into a single campaign. These drives continued until replaced by a single United Way organization for the entire county in 1977.