GTPulse: Dollar Beers For Helping The Homeless At Right Brain Brewery

This winter season is already being dubbed a quiet one. With uncertainties on what kind of implications the pandemic will have on flu season, many of the usual holiday activities that make winter fun will be on pause this year. While our winter will look different, the homeless populations will largely look the same. Seeking shelter, warmth, and food is an unaffected reality faced daily that only becomes more difficult as cold temperatures drop in northern Michigan. Someone passionate about helping the homeless in Grand Traverse is Bell Allen. She’s working with Restoration Church and Right Brain Brewery to host Tarps For Pints this Thursday, a tarps and sleeping bag donation that rewards donators with dollar pints.

Battling the icy temperatures all winter, the homeless will often create makeshift campsites to sleep in with tarps covering the frost hardened ground. Many nights even a campfire doesn’t allow them to get warm enough to go to sleep, organs and the nervous system are compromised when a person’s body temperature dips too low. 

9 out of every 10,000 people in Michigan are homeless and that’s something that Bell thinks about.

“I used to be a director of a transitional home for homeless girls so for a lo

ng time it’s been near and dear to my heart.”

Bell is working with the newly formed Restoration Church to serve the Grand Traverse community. The church started Sunday services at Right Brain over the summer. Homelessness is one of many issues they plan on working with other local organizations on.

“We are hoping to do more and more community outreach and of course the homeless is a place where we wanted to start with that. I contacted some people I knew who were involved in homeless outreach.”

Ryan Hannon is the street outreach coordinator for Goodwill and also works with Safe Harbor to aid and keep track of the homeless in Grand Traverse. 

“We have approximately 100 homeless people in the Grand Traverse area,” he said. “It can fluctuate. Sometimes someone could be staying on someone’s couch, or jail, or in the hospital, but it’s about 100.”

Living through the trials of being homeless in winter, the homeless have picked up a few tricks to stay warm. Things like wearing socks over their hands and garbage bags over their feet are cheap methods to protect themselves from frostbite, but when it comes to sleeping outdoors, a coat and tarp aren’t sufficient. Safety measures at shelters have meant that bed capacity is reduced. Fewer beds mean more people turned away.

“A lot of our community partners have closed down or reduced their capacity so that’s why we’re glad Bell reached out and asked what they could do. ”

A well-insulated sleeping bag is a necessity for any homeless person in the winter. A good night’s sleep is imperative to healthy bodies, minds and immune systems. Cold and flu season is the time to be conscious of getting good sleep, and while some of us may have poor sleeping schedules, we have a warm bed to lie down in at night, which puts our access to quality sleep far above someone going without.

“Right now, Safe Harbor still isn’t open so there are still a large number of people living out in the streets and woods. People have cars and sleep in those or sheds, or campers in people’s yards, or tents. Some sleep a little rougher. The tarps and the sleeping bags will be for all of the people who need it.”

Right Brain Brewery located on E. 16th Street in Traverse City and if you’ve been doing some fall cleaning or reorganizing and have found yourself with some tarps or a sleeping bag or two to spare, they will be accepting sleeping bags tomorrow Thursday, October 8th in exchange for a 1$ pint of your choice, going from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. They have a large outdoor patio area and what better way to spend a fall day than outdoors, doing something nice for others in your community? 

“Each person who donates really makes a big difference,” said Ryan.

Sounds like a win-win to me.

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Categories: GTPulse