Extreme cold leads to emergency measures at Mel Trotter

The men's bunk room at Mel Trotter Ministries. This room is expected to be filled this evening.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan is in the process of being hit by a serious arctic blast this weekend and wind chills are expected to dip to near -30 degrees in areas.

Local organization Mel Trotter Ministries has stepped up in these conditions, letting the community know the homeless can come and stay there.

“This is especially important during nights when temperatures create dangerous temperatures for those sleeping outside,” said Dennis VanKampen, Mel Trotter’s VP of Development.

Mel Trotter has enacted their emergency weather plan to accommodate the high numbers of the homeless population. They added extra staff, extra mattresses and extra food for the increase in guests.

The Grand Rapids Police is also assisting by checking common areas where people struggling with homelessness tend to camps along the river and under bridges. The GRPD are working to bring people who want to go to Mel Trotter and get out of the cold.

With this increase of need, Mel Trotter has an increase need of donations during this time. Items needed at this time include:

  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Coats
  • Blankets
  • Socks for men/women/children
  • canned food

You can make donations at:

Mel Trotter Ministries
225 Commerce S.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

You can also make financial donations online at meltrotter.org

This patch of extreme cold has prompted a warning from the Kent County Emergency Management & Health Department, urging residents to stay safe.

The county recommends taking preventative measures against the cold including:

  • Checking in periodically on family and neighbors, especially the elderly
  • Making sure those with pre-existing conditions, especially asthma or respiratory illness, are not outside for prolonged periods
  • Wearing multiple layers of clothing outside to prevent frostbite
  • Keeping emergency supplies in your car, as well as keeping it full of gas

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