Local Shelter Faces Food Shortage

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Demand for food and other help at local shelters tends to slow down in the fall, but not this year.

The Lansing City Rescue Mission is seeing a steady increase of people coming through the door, especially men.

53-year-old David Pennisan eats at the Michigan Ave. location up to four times a week.

"I need nourishment, good food," Pennisan said. "I try to eat like that, and they serve that here, and it really helps me."

It's not just homeless people eating there though; it's a type of "new homeless," as City Rescue Mission Communications Manager Laura Grimwood describes it. People who are working but can't afford anything else, or recently lost their home or job. With more and more of them using the services, the food supply is running low, even after generous donations from the community.

"We're at 48 pounds of ground beef left, and so, it looks pretty scarce," Program Coordinator Bryan McGruder said.

The cooks said they can use up to 40 lbs. of meat for just one meal. McGruder said the meals always include a dairy and vegetable as well, but starting in October, protein portions will have to be smaller.

"Our meat will be short, so we will probably, we'll accomodate," McGruder said. "We'll make adjustments where adjustments needs to be made."

It doesn't end there. The men's shelter is already at capacity with 66 beds being used, and more than 2,000 stays in September.

"We anticipate with the up and coming winter months that we will be over capacity," McGruder said. "And we will do the best that we can to provide shelter for those in need during the winter months."

They'll open the chapel and use any floor space possible, but that might not be enough for the 160 women and children they expect at the Maplewood location each night.

"We can't really grow anymore as far as where they're going to sleep," Grimwood said. "Already we're expecting to have mats down when it starts to get cold weather. But eventually there's only so much you can do."

For many people though, they're already doing enough.

"They're good people here," Pennisan said. "They always help me."

Grimwood said there's always a chance they'll have to turn people away, but that depends on how bad the winter months get.

Anyone can donate to the City Rescue Mission. Any type of ground beef, whole chicken or chicken breasts would be best right now.

Donations can be dropped off at the Michigan Ave. location.

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