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Traverse City nonprofits working together to prepare to help homeless population during cold weather

“We need to come together to help them not only in basic needs and protect their safety while they are unsheltered, but also to help them access housing and get out of homelessness,” says Goodwill Community Engagement Officer Ryan Hannon.

Hannon works firsthand with those in need in the Traverse City area, including those without a place to call home.

It becomes even more dangerous as colder weather starts to move in, and the list of needs for local shelters is starting to grow.


“But right now, we’re really focusing on the need for tarps. We’re short on tarps. We’re almost completely out,” Hannon said.

Inflation has made filling needs like tarps and other essentials that more difficult.

“If you can see behind me right now, we’re wiped out. And yet we had tons of food to start with. And the change we’ve seen over the years to include the fact that we see a lot more working poor folks. And when I say working poor, I mean these are folks that have never had to reach out in the past. They work sometimes work two jobs,” says Envoy Pastor for Salvation Army, Greg Irwin.

Social Services Supervisor for Salvation Army, Patty Steele, says that they take all types of donations all the time, but right now there is a specific need.


“We have a kind of a specific need right now for health and beauty needs, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, women’s sanitary stuff, those kinds of things,” says Steele.

Local organizations have stepped up to fill those needs, but they can’t do it alone.

People in the community, such as retired Munson Doctor, Robert Barker, take the time to volunteer.

“I saw someone say, you know, when there’s so many things going on in the world today, you know, what can you do? This seems overwhelming. And then the good advice I heard one time was sign up for something and you can make all the difference and that is for me here,” says Barker.


But for Bill Marsh auto dealer here in Traverse City, it was a no brainer for their team to step in and help once they received the call.

“I know our employees went over to one of the local stores and bought out the entire shelf of tents coming out of their own pocket. So it’s just a great testament to them and what they are, and they just feel just as strongly about the community as we do here at Bill Marsh,” says Digital Branding Leader, Rob Marsh.

And these non-profits will once again look for support like that to get them through what can sometimes be the most challenging months of the year.

“There are so many people that need help and there’s so many activities. But just sign up for one thing that might interest you and it can make all the difference in the world. And that, for me, has been here. I just came here one day,” says Barker.


You can learn more about Salvation Army Traverse City here.

You can learn more about Goodwill Traverse City here.

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