Downtown Grand Rapids homeless shelter Degage Ministries is extending its day center’s hours this winter season to help keep people suffering from homelessness warm during the cold months.
“Well with the elements in Michigan we know that the cold weather is coming and its forecasted for this week, and when we serve a vulnerable population it is just so important that they have a place to be and out of the cold weather," Marge Palmerlee, the executive director at Degage Ministries said.
The homeless shelter provides basic services like showers, laundry and haircuts to the homeless community as well as help finding jobs and a place to live. People using their services are required to do small jobs at the shelter in exchange for vouchers that they can then use to purchase a variety of items such as food and haircuts.
Palmerlee says the vouchers are available to purchase for people who feel compelled to help someone who is holding up a sign and asking for a handout. “You see someone panhandling. You can feel good about giving them one of our vouchers, knowing that they will come into our facility and they will have an opportunity to buy a meal or to do whatever else they chose to do with that voucher, whatever their need is. And that allows us to find out additional ways we can help them, show them additional ways they can earn the vouchers, and you can feel good about having given them something of real value.”
During the extended hours this winter season activities such as movies bingo and concerts will be coordinated by staff and volunteers. Palmerlee says anyone wishing to volunteer at the day center would be welcome.