“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in…” Matthew 25:35 NIV
How To Help a Neighbor this Winter
Homelessness is increasing in our community and as the winter weather turns dangerous many people in the community are asking, “how can I help?”
How do I help someone that is living outside?
We know that some people choose to stay outside but that doesn’t stop us from building relationships and continuing to show up for them. Good eye contact and a warm smile often goes a long way for anyone. So when you see someone experiencing homelessness, the best place to start is with a kind smile, look them in the eyes and show that you see and value them as a person.
Secondly, having some care kits on hand can be a great starting point. Learn more about care kits below!
Can you tell me more about care kits?
Care kits can include items like soft, easy to eat snacks (granola bars or fruit), personal hygiene items, thick socks, and water. In the winter, consider including gloves, hats, and hand warmers. Building care kits and having them available to hand out when you encounter a person experiencing homelessness is a great idea!
If you want to go out and help individuals around the community, consider tagging along on agency outreach efforts. The Mel Trotter Ministries Outreach Team goes out multiple times a week to offer resources and the compassion of Christ. If you would like to join the efforts, please sign up here.
What do I do if someone asks me for help?
Offering meal cards and bus passes are great ways to help someone experiencing homelessness. Knowing about some of the resources available in the community can connect individuals to more sustainable assistance.
During the harsh winter weather, Mel Trotter and many other local agencies are considered warming centers.
Below is a list of Grand Rapids warming centers and their hours (as of January 2022).
Crossroads Bible Church | 800 Scribner Ave. NW | 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Degage Ministries | 114 S. Division Ave. | 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily | Open Door offered 24 hours a day
Exodus Place | 322 Front Ave. SW | 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Heartside Ministries | 200 S. Division | A day shelter and overflow night shelter are open 24 hours
Mel Trotter Ministries | 225 Commerce Ave. SW | we are currently under “Code Blue” operations. No one needing shelter will be turned away.
Above all, share love and the compassion of Christ with anyone you encounter.