in Giving Back
Making a difference for our local homeless
Holland Litho takes part in an effort to help support those in need
by Rick Baarman
President, Holland Litho
That the homeless situation has gotten worse in the past year is tragic but not suprising. As the stresses of the pandemic unfolded, many lost their jobs, and many of those might not have had much of a cushion or support network to rely upon.
I have met with several of the non-profit and faith leaders involved with the homeless and am convinced:
- The need is great and much more so since the covid pandemic.
- We have over 100 homeless people living in different camps or temporarily in hotels funded by various non-profits and donors.
- Many are sleeping outdoors and on public properties— places that cannot meet their needs.
- There are 300+ individuals who are displaced including those under temporary roofs, and over 100 who are completely homeless.
Local men and women of good will are working together to alleviate this elevated level of suffering. These efforts are producing results:
- Ministries and volunteers have provided food and supplies.
- Some have been able to get jobs though connections with ministries.
- Many are being mentored and given accountability.
- Many have been able to attend bible studies developed for them.
- Several have made a new commitment to Christ and chose to be baptized.
- Many were taken to a local church for an Easter dinner.
These efforts by our local leaders not only are alleviating the suffering, but they have inspired other to join the effort to help the homeless, including some of us at Holland Litho. In fact, we have teamed up with Lifeline Ministries, an organization providing stable transitional shelters for the homeless.
Lifeline Ministries is providing safe, transitional housing with structured community support and individual check-ins to help participants develop and achieve their goals to overcomehomelessness and improve their lives.
The Conestoga Cabin is a quick, inexpensive shelter option for individuals and couples who are experiencing homelessness. The residential cabin (RC) is designed as a hard-shelled, insulated tent structure that can be built with a group of a few volunteers with minimal construction experience. It is a modular design that can be assembled, disassembled and refurbished. Overall dimensions are 6’ wide x 14’ long by roughly 8’ tall (inside height is approx 6’ from floor to ceiling).
Each cabin costs about $2,500 and we are encouraging individuals, families, churches and businesses to consider sponsoring at least one cabin. Additionally, we are looking for upwards of 30 small campers (RVs) to deploy. Alternatively, if you have a small camper you no longer use, please consider donating it to our effort.
Lifeline Ministries would like to have several dozen of these RCs and/or RVs installed before this coming winter, sited at a facility that will provide bathrooms, showers and laundry rooms. With the help of volunteers, we hope to provide three meals a day.
At the heart of this effort is a program for social engagement between community members (volunteers), and various organizations. The purpose of this program is to develop a positive support system. Within this program we work to:
- Assess and help individuals with documentation (if needed).
- Connect and meet them where they are.
- Teach self-responsibility (finance, basic rules, etc).
- Assist participants in meeting personal goals.
- Provide a path to rehabilitation and employment.
Lifeline Ministries' coalition has already secured the land, and excavation has already begun. We are looking to raise at least an additional $150,000 to complete several dozen of these RCs/RVs along with and a bathroom, shower, and laundry facility by winter.
If you want more information, please contact Pastor Willie J Watt Jr at Lifeline Ministries via email at email@example.com or by calling 616-335-0611. The web address is lifelineministriesmi.org. Thank you.