Those looking to make a difference this holiday season can donate cold-weather necessities to a local nonprofit that serves individuals experiencing homelessness.
Grand Rapids-based Guiding Light said last week that in anticipation of a difficult winter with reduced shelter capacity due to COVID-19, it is seeking the community’s help to collect and distribute new cold-weather necessities to those experiencing homelessness in the community.
The nonprofit is asking for donations of coats, winter boots, thermal gloves that will stay dry, thermal underwear, fleece blankets and socks, as well as personal hygiene products for men and women.
A complete wish list can be found online.
Donated cold-weather items must be new and picked up by Guiding Light to be accepted. Items will then be shared with Dégagé Ministries, Mel Trotter Ministries and the city of Grand Rapids Homeless Outreach Team, which all serve the Heartside neighborhood.
“New safety protocols in place due to COVID-19 could leave as many as 150 men and women without a place to shelter this winter,” said Stuart Ray, executive director of Guiding Light. “Guiding Light is working together with Dégagé Ministries, Mel Trotter Ministries and Grand Rapids in advance of cold weather to ensure those experiencing homelessness can be warm and dry. We turn to the generous hearts of our community to help us fill these basic needs.”
To meet high demand, the nonprofit is encouraging schools, businesses and church communities to hold winter clothing drives. All donations are tax deductible.
The organization will accept donated items by pickup service only to limit contact. To coordinate a donation pickup, individuals may call Mark at Guiding Light, at (616) 451-0236.
The nonprofits also are accepting online, cash or check donations for those who want to support individuals who may be struggling with homelessness or addiction this winter.