Supporting the homeless

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, June 24, 2015

On Saturday, a veritable automotive bonanza took place on the front parking lot of Southwestern Michigan College.

With festivities that included a car show, stunt show and a massive motorcycle ride, everyone from the most ardent gear head to a novice of the chrome and piston arts were left satisfied.

No doubt that the fact the dollars they spent at the show that day went to supporting the area’s most downtrodden residents only added to that good feeling.

Saturday’s Ride 4 the Homeless event was, according to organizers, the largest in the history of the five year event. Capped off by a 40-bike motorcycle ride through Cass, Berrien and Van Buren counties, the event was designed to raise money for the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency’s Decatur Family Shelter, which helps provides temporary shelter for families that have lost their homes due to natural disaster, job loss, foreclosure or other tragedies.

Last year, the event raised nearly $6,000 for the shelter, which went toward repairs and construction of a new shed for the structure.

Homelessness continues to be a pervasive problem for the country. According to figures from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, on a single night in January of 2014, nearly 600,000 people across the country spent the night either sleeping in a temporary shelter or on the streets.

In an area that was hit harder than most by the 2008 housing market crash, the service the Decatur Family Shelter provides to local families is crucial. With many local families struggling to make ends meet, the loss of one’s job can have a devastating effect, and it can be a struggle to find a way to make up that lost source of income while remaining on top of rent or mortgage payments.

Even families that feel secure with their financial situation could find themselves in need of temporary shelter, though. As organizer Jeremy Weinrick said, “Homelessness hits everywhere. It’s nondiscriminatory.”

We support the mission of the Decatur Shelter, and are encouraged by the growing generosity shown to them by local residents. Let’s hope that the sixth annual Ride 4 the Homeless continues this uptick in support.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.