There is no more room at the Inn. This winter has hit everyone hard, and one homeless shelter has had to get a bit creative to keep those in need safe and warm.
In the midst of one of the coldest winters on record, Room at the Inn Homeless shelter is refusing to leave anyone out in the cold.
“This winter has been awful for everyone, especially those that are homeless. We have been filled to capacity most nights over capacity on others, you can’t turn someone away so we get sleeping bags, make people comfortable, do what we can,” Room at the Inn Executive Director Heather Reese said.
“It’s been a very cold winter, very hard, had it not been for Room at the Inn, our options were very limited, where I could go, where I could stay, as far as food, it’s been a blessing, if I had not had Room at the Inn I would be on the streets,” Room at the Inn guest Robbie Young said.
Not only does the shelter provide food, warmth, and beds to sleep in, it also instills a few life lessons to build on.
“Quite a learning experience, I learned to be more humble, to be more gracious about people who can’t afford something as simple as toilet tissue, if it wasn’t for room at the Inn, I would have frozen to death,” Room at the Inn former guest and volunteer Andrea Abbott said.
The center needs $180,000 to ensure the building will open come Summer. Officials hope the community will pitch in with funds of their own, in addition to volunteering.
“I am from Escanaba and I came here after Christmas because I fell on hard times, and the thing that stands out to me about this place is the incredible generosity and kindness of the volunteers,” Room at the Inn transitioning guest Laura Gafner said.
These guests tell me the spirit of the volunteers must rub off from the center’s director.
“She’s fantastic, she comes after supper, she’s always upbeat and always has something positive to say, very kind to us with trying to do what she can for each individual, it’s just great to see her when she walks through the door, she’s a spark and we love her,” Gafner said.
Not only does Room at the Inn provide temporary food and shelter, long term solutions are also addressed.
“I graduated from Room at the Inn, I have my own place. Had it not been for Room at the Inn to help me and the volunteers, to drive me around, help me with paperwork and make the transition I would not be here today,” Abbott said.
“I am forever grateful because like other people, had it not been for Room at the Inn, I would have been out on the street. Not only that but I have been able to start the transition into getting my own place,” Gafner said.
“I’m here because I still like to come for the breakfast and now I am trying to return the favor and the hospitality I have received by volunteering. I just think it is an amazing program, I feel like I have met my god family and I will do whatever I can in the future to make “Room at the Inn” successful,” Abbott said.
More than 1,000 volunteers have been trained to date to assist with the program, but more are needed. Whether it’s time or money, donations can be made through their website at www.roomattheinn.org or by giving them a call at (906) 227-9171.