Cold weather increases demand for services at Mel Trotter Ministries

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The harsh winter is driving increased demand for services in Mel Trotter departments, intensifying the need for additional support for the homeless population.

With the current weather conditions, officials from the nonprofit faith-based association, located at 225 Commerce Ave. SW in the Heartside neighborhood of Grand Rapids, said a Code Blue emergency was put in place as staff scramble to provide people with food, warmth and shelter. in need.

During a Code Blue emergency, the shelter is open to anyone in need of unrestricted assistance at any time of the day, Beth Fisher, Mel Trotter’s director of advancement, said Friday (Jan. 7).

“Anyone can enter during a Code Blue,” said Fisher. “People who have no service, or someone who has not been able to come to the mission in the past, can now enter. We are lifting our restrictions so people don’t have to be out in the cold. “

The main Commerce shelter instituted its Code Blue operations in mid-November, when nighttime temperatures first fell below 30 degrees.

Staff and volunteers continue to manage the non-profit organization’s outreach program. This program calls on teams to go out into the cold every day and night to find people living on the streets, checking their well-being and encouraging them to come to the shelter, officials say.

Currently, the main location is undergoing renovations, Fisher said, and has since been able to introduce new filtration systems to accommodate more people in a ‘dormitory-type’ quad as COVID-cases 19 continue to increase.

“When on earth, Jesus often reached out to those who were in pain and needed help,” said Dennis Van Kampen, President and CEO of Mel Trotter Ministries, in a prepared statement. “He sought them out and helped them without judgment. We approach our approach in the same way.

In early December, Mel Trotter Ministries opened a new 24/7 overflow shelter at 200 South Division in Grand Rapids. Heartside Ministry uses the same building to provide day services to people in need. The shelter has already seen a steady increase in its use by the homeless, according to the press release.

In the past few days, the 75 beds available at the South Division location have been at full capacity since the winter storm began on Wednesday, and the need for shelter continues to increase.

Related: Mel Trotter Ministries Announces $ 14.9 Million Campaign to Renovate Men’s Shelter and Add Transitional Housing

“We are grateful to have the support of the community as we continue the mission of Jesus,” said Van Kampen. “But we can’t do it alone, we need the help of the whole community and we need volunteers to help our staff.

The increased need for homeless services requires additional financial support in the form of private donations. We want to remind the community that every dollar makes a difference in the lives of those we serve. “

Mel Trotter Ministries, founded in 1900, serves over 3,000 homeless people each year.

Residents of the Grand Rapids area interested in volunteering at Mel Trotter or providing financial support for their efforts are encouraged to visit the website here for more information or to make a donation.

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