GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — A West Side business is doing their part to help the homeless this winter. Swift Printing is collecting warm clothing and blankets all month long.
Jessica Slaydon, Vice President of Swift Printing embodies the ‘west side’ spirit and loves the people who live there.
She sid, “There’s several gentleman who live out on the street that I would consider my buddies, that I say ‘hi’ to.”
Slaydon especially feels for the homeless population in the downtown area, so her company is gathering everything they can, to help them stay warm.
“Socks, gloves, those are high, high demand items, as well as jackets,boots, and blankets those type of things,” Slaydon explained.
All you have to do is drop items off in the bin outside their shop on bridge street, and they’ll be stored away until they can be handed over to the Grand Rapids Homeless Outreach team.
“With the weather being so cold right now,”Slaydon said, “It’s just been hard to be able to get the right supplies into the right people’s hands.”
She tells FOX 17 that the pandemic put the drive on hold last year, but they’re making sure it happens in 2021, even though the company is navigating their own speed bump right now; a fire above their office, forcing the team to pivot.
“It was the first business day of the year, I came into the office just ready to change the world and then all of a sudden the ceiling started falling.”
The fire started in the apartment upstairs and the sprinkler system left about 4-inches of standing water.
“I think it was two minutes after the fire department came in and we heard a loud noise and they were like ‘Everyone out’ and the whole ceiling just fell in,” Slaydon recalled.
She said that their entire team is taking everything in stride as they work on repairing part of their space.
“I think when you put others first and you continue to give in times of trial, that’s when you make the greatest strides and you really can improve, not only as a person, but as a culture and a business in the community,” Slaydon said.
While the company knows there’s no ‘one size’ solution to solving homelessness, Slaydon said she hopes the efforts can help even just one person.
She said, “These are people who have dignity and human rights, and being able to just connect with someone, whether it be by giving them socks or gloves, buying someone a steak dinner, or just giving someone the kindness of a smile when you walk by them versus looking at them like they’re not people.”
Swift Printing is located at 404 Bridge St. NW in Grand Rapids.
The group is also hosting a charity ‘Donut Dash 5k’ on Feb. 16th where they will also be accepting clothing donations.