MA Center Michigan

Mother's Kitchen Valentine Lunch

The day began at 6:30 a.m for Alisha Rucker, a 7 year old, first-grader from Achieve Charter Academy in Canton, Michigan.  Her mother, Shreeja Rucker, said that Alisha was so excited to volunteer for the Valentine’s Day lunch at the Staples Family Center for the homeless in Ann Arbor, that she got up earlier than usual that Saturday on February 9, 2019.  Alisha was in charge of decorations.  While she did not comprehend the impact of her efforts to provide a special home-cooked meal, she clearly understood the joy that she shared with the recipients and she wants to volunteer again.

Alisha is part of a weekly program called “Mother’s Kitchen,” which began in 1997 to feed struggling families in crisis.  The funds come from members of the Amma Center of Michigan, located at 4201 Ann Arbor Saline Road in Ann Arbor.  The thrust of their mission is volunteerism, or seva, a word from Sanskrit, translated as “selfless service.”  Their service is done simply for the well-being of others.  Every week, someone from the Amma Center of Michigan sets up, cooks, and serves a warm meal for residents at Staples Family Center, many who struggle with a housing transition or hardship, and if they’re lucky, they get Alisha’s decorative touch.

Alisha was part of a team, to include Julia Krupska, Senthil Nathan, Shreeja Rucker and Ajitha Kymal, who helped put together this Valentine’s Day lunch.  Alisha along with Senthil set the tone by transforming the dining area with festive Valentine themed place settings, roses and balloons. The menu included Baked Parmesan Crusted Chicken, Lemon Garlic Roasted Asparagus, Onion Roasted Potatoes, along with Sparkling Grape Juice Cocktail for drinks, Red Velvet Cake and Chocolate Hershey Kisses from Amma for dessert. The residents felt warmed by this token of love. 

The Amma Center of Michigan is an active volunteer group.  They include a diverse set of people from different backgrounds to help with their seva.  For instance, Kathleen Jefferson, liked the idea of sponsoring a lunch next month for her son’s 40th birthday present, but this disappointed Karen Smith, because she wanted that day for her husband’s 60th birthday gift, so they decided to combine their efforts and money over two weekends.  Carin’s daughters will be visiting from out-of-town, so they can work the event.  Amma’s Center of Michigan, also, sponsors a breakfast in Detroit every Wednesday, during the winters, at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Southfield.  

Alisha is a role model for us all, when we need inspiration to be called to service.  She said, the residents liked the food, because it was “mom’s cooking.” Then her mother asked her, why she liked volunteering, and Alisha shouted, “It was fun!”

The average cost to sponsor a meal is $50.00.  Please consider sponsoring a meal in honor of a loved one, or volunteering, by signing up here or emailing