From homeless to helping hand: Local outreach program feeds those in need

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -- With Easter coming up, many are preparing for the celebrations with food and of course, Easter baskets.

But what if a family isn't able to provide that for their loved ones? That's where the Cardboard Prophets step in.

After Michael Karl was homeless himself and living on the streets of Lansing -- he came up with the street-based outreach program. He started the organization because he says times can be tough for anyone, and that's why they want to help.

"There are hard instances in our life where we need help. And you don't have to ask for this, you can come down and take what you need and just a hug. I'm here," Michael Karl said.

A cold and rainy day in Lansing, but some people don't have a place to stay warm and dry.

"Today is like any other day only with the weather being so bad...we're still here because they're still here. Though we have to suffer for a few hours, they live in this 24/7," Linda Karl said.

The organization doesn't just serve the homeless, they also provide meals to people who can't afford it. Some have children, some don't, all are welcome. Many gave hugs thanking the volunteers from The Mason Community Church and Mason Methodist Churches, something the founder says is important.

"Trust is number one in any relationship and trying to build that and building a relationship to get them off of the street is the most important thing. Everyone here is my family," Michael Karl said.

In addition to the food, Easter baskets were given away to children who might now get one otherwise.

"There's children and families that are in shelters right now that aren't going to be able to have an experience for Easter that we will. So we want to be able to do that and give them that opportunity to have an Easter, be a kid, be normal."

Helping those in need, without judgment, instead, they say with hope, love, and second chances.

"By allowing the community members like this to come out and be a direct part in this...changes lives. It doesn't just change the people who are homeless, it changes us who are giving too," Michael Karl said.

"Homeless people aren't exactly what you think they are. Are there drunks and are there drug addicts? Yes, there are rich people too. Everyday society, people have the same struggles. But they're people and that's what's important," Linda Karl said.

Cardboard Prophets feeds those in need every second Sunday of the month at Reutter Park in Lansing.

For more information on Cardboard Prophets, click here.