Fifty percent of the homeless population in Michigan is children and adults in families. However, many shelters only accommodate singles, not families. Abundant Life Church in Menominee is trying to fill that need by opening up their facility for homeless families.
??What originally brought me up to the UP was that I was told there was a lot of work up here and a lot of cheap rent,?? said homeless shelter resident, Mike Johnston.
After some time, however, Mike and his wife soon found themselves homeless and with triplets on the way. Homeless shelters for families, however, are not easy to come by.
??When schools started this year, 90 kids in just Menominee County were defined as homeless,?? said Pastor Dave Pennell. ??Most missions in Michigan and Wisconsin, or most missions period, only take singles. Either it'd be a mission for men, women, or they'll have a facility for both, but not for families.??
That??s when the Abundant Life Church decided to start the Abundant Life Mission, a shelter for anyone, including families, and especially for those like Mike and his wife with two toddlers and now three triplets. According to Pastor Dave, the mission provides physical needs but also spiritual needs.
??Our goal is to make it where they may be a detriment to society to an asset; when they may not have had a relationship with Christ to a point when they do have a relationship with Christ,?? Pennell said.
??I??ve gotten closer to God myself and so has my wife. Everything??s for a reason, from financial reasons, to what brings people out here,?? Johnston said.
The mission relies solely on community donations and volunteer work to help the families in need.
??It is hard to know that they're here and they couldn't make it on their own, and I always reassure that's why we are here is to help them make that step and get back on their feet,?? said volunteer, Joan Vandenbush. ??That??s why I chose to come here.??
There are currently six units at the shelter with plans for expansion. As a fundraiser on May 7, Pastor Dave is going to carry a full-sized cross on foot nearly 70 miles from Menominee, all the way to their sister church in Kingsford, in hopes of raising $100,000 all for the shelter.
If you??re interested in donating for the shelter, contact Pastor Dave at (906) 424-4429 or visit their fundraising website here.