Helping the homeless stay warm

Becky Vargo • Nov 24, 2017 at 3:00 PM

Diane and Dan Coulier used to volunteer days at a time cooking meals and providing supervision at a Muskegon homeless shelter. 

“You’d see that people need things, so we would give,” Diane said.

When she left Muskegon and moved to Spring Lake, she also changed churches and no longer volunteered at the shelter.

Diane was making a pair of mittens for herself recently when it occurred to her that she could be doing the same for others in need.

“I wanted to give. Then it kind of snowballed when I heard of the Grand Haven shelter,” she said.

Diane made a social media request for old sweaters and had some donated. She also picked up sweaters at thrift stores.

Because she also works full time, Diane sometimes recruited her husband to help, and they finished up the last of a few dozen pairs of mittens last week.

“I’m planning to drop some off at different places like Family Promise, Love in Action and Every Women’s Place,” Diane said.

She plans to continue making the mittens, and encourages others to do the same.

“I’m going to keep doing it, but would need help if people drop off too much stuff,” Diane said.

She noted she would be happy to take a sweater or two a week, as well as some decorative buttons. She just doesn’t want to get inundated.

Laura Liu, director of client services at Love in Action, said there’s plenty of need for mittens and other types of winter clothes right now.

Any mittens, coats, hats and boots received in the Fulton Street warehouse will go to the shelter, may be handed out at the food trucks or even be available in the office.

“We can never get enough coats, mittens, hats and scarves,” said Liu. “And they can be gently used.”

 Liu said they’ve had several coat drives but noted the coats were being handed out just as fast as they were coming in.

“A coat is an expensive item for one of our clients,” she said. 

What they also could use — and hardly ever receive — is boots.

Liu said they need all sizes including everything for adults and children, male and female.

Warm outer clothing and boots for the shelter can be donated at the Love in Action donation center, 1106 Fulton St., Grand Haven. The office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., as well as 6:30-8 p.m. Thursdays and 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Cash or check donations can be dropped off or mailed at the main office at Love in Action, 326 N. Ferry St., Grand Haven, MI 49417.

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