Local Charities Prep for Holiday Rush

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

LANSING -- With the snow already falling, and the holidays just around the corner, the need for help is on the rise.

"It is a difficult time," says Mike Hayes, a director with Lansing's City Rescue Mission.

He says Thanksgiving and Christmas are crunch time for local charities, as shelter, food and emotional support are in high demand to the state's 86,000 homeless.

"Two years ago, I think we served 72,552 meals; last year 90,000, and we could surpass 100,000 this year," he says.

City Rescue has some 70 beds available for shelter and a chapel for spiritual support. This time of year, they're all generally filled up.

Terry Link from the Greater Lansing Food Bank, which he estimates touches the lives of 70,000 people a year, encounters a similar problem this time of year.

And he says this is also the most important season for the charities themselves.

"The make-it-or-break-it for our success for the whole year is based on what happens over the next couple of months," Link says.

The food bank's "One Envelope" drive, just starting now, accounts for 65 percent of its yearly income.

And it's no coincidence that they run that campaign during perhaps the most giving time of all.

"It's the season of giving," Link says. "Of giving thanks, and recognizing that there are people with less than us."

Back at City Rescue, Hayes says for the first time in a long time, the charity has stayed in the black financially the entire year -- maybe another sign that Michigan is emerging from the depths.

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