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Family getting donations to provide for homeless in Grand Rapids

Posted at 5:36 PM, Dec 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-19 22:24:53-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The pandemic has really hit a lot of people hard. Some have lost their jobs, their businesses, and in some cases their homes.

Despite all the setbacks there are good people out there ready and willing to help.

“One tiny thing that we tried to do very discretely has blown up into this big deal,” said Makiiya Jodway of White Cloud.

She and her family have been handing out items to those without a home.

They’ve already dropped off three truckloads of goods in three nights to people living at Heartside Park in Grand Rapids. That’s where FOX 17 first ran into her on Wednesday.

“It was just really overwhelming to see so many people down there. Some you could tell were very seasoned homeless people and some seemed like they were very new to the area,” she said.

Their living spot is about to be shut down because camping is not permitted in city parks. It was only allowed until additional shelter beds became available.

Mel Trotter Ministries is about to open a new emergency winter shelter, meaning the residents are being forced out.

Makiiya asked those living here what they needed most.

“It was charcoal, heaters for small propane tanks they had received a very kind donation of propane tanks from somewhere in Grand Rapids but none of them had heaters to use the tanks with,” she said.

After posting on social media, others wanted to pitch in too.

Complete strangers helped with shopping and filled baskets with much needed items including toothpaste, feminine products, socks, deodorant, homemade Christmas cards, and earbuds to help them sleep.

The response from her online post has been amazing.

Beerman Logging in Newaygo gave her $1,000 to help with the heaters. Legacy Roofing in Coopersville also gave her a grand. Little Champs in Newaygo sent her a check too, and Fox Honda in Grand Rapids is helping them with donated items to hand out.

“People are just stepping up to the plate and it’s just overwhelming,” she said.

She too knows about struggling. The family owns Special Tees and Graphics in White Cloud. The business took a huge hit during the pandemic.

“We’re not in a position to financially fund all of this,” she said.

That’s why she reached out to people on Facebook and also got her kids involved.

“I feel like it’s really, really important to have servant hearts. Number one, there’s a lot of good feelings that come from serving others and it gives them perspective and another reason to be so grateful for the things that we do have.”

Makiiya almost didn’t do this interview because she doesn’t want the recognition. She just wants others to know just how many people out there really need help.

“We had just had a conversation with our kids that when you do stuff like this you do it from the heart. You don’t do it to get recognition,” she said.

The family plans to go back out on Tuesday and Christmas Eve.

One of the requests was something that would put people in the Christmas spirit. So they’re thinking about a tree with battery lights and Santa may also deliver some bus and shower passes.

If you’d like to help the family with donations, items, or even delivery, you can reach them at (616)-498-1419 or connect with them on Facebook.