Long before federal or state social welfare agencies, the Ypsilanti Home Association was a homegrown ladies’ charity group founded in 1857 as an auxiliary of New York’s American Female Guardian Society, which operated a “Home for the Friendless.” Any woman could join the YHA for five cents [a little over a dollar in today’s money]. Schoolgirls could also join, and were exempted from the fee if they sewed one garment to give to the “Home.” The first donation box mailed to New York contained a variety of handmade clothing and bedding, and some beans.