How a Jobless Father of Four Is Surviving the Winter in Detroit

How does a jobless father of four keep his family warm and fed in Detroit during the harsh winter? By donating his plasma and collecting wood from the abundant amount abandoned homes around the bankrupt city.

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Don, a father of four, collects wood from abandoned houses to fuel fires to keep his own family warm. He donates his plasma to bring in a little bit of cash. (Image source: WJBK-TV)

“People need to open up their hearts and not be so judgmental about those they see walking the streets,” the man only identified as Don told WJBK-TV. “I can live in a box under a freeway underpass, however, my children can’t. Therefore, I have to do what I have to do.”

The 53-year-old walks the streets on Detroit’s east side collecting what he can. He told the news station it takes about half the day to find wood and the other half to cut it for use in his home. There it will be used to provide warmth, to heat water for cleaning, to give light and to cook food.

Donating plasma twice a week to earn some money, Don told WJBK “it’s honest money, it’s fair and it helps.”

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Don, though not always unemployed, said he lost his job and has been living day-to-day since. (Image source: WJBK-TV)

Don hasn’t always been out of work. He told the news station he lost his job suddenly, previously holding posts as a butcher and a roofer.

Even in his current situation, Don said he’s grateful for what he does have.

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Don told the news station he’s grateful for what his family does have. (Image source: WJBK-TV)

“I’m not the only one in this situation. There’s a lot of people who are out here with perhaps less than what I have,” he said.


Don said everything he does is for his children, the youngest of whom is 10 years old, according to WJBK.

“I love them. I’ll do anything for them. Anything. I will not let them suffer any more than they already have, and if it be God’s will, they’ll be alright,” Don told the news station.