PAMELA FLEMING: Our Brother’s Keeper is looking for community support

To the editor:

As the temperature drops in Big Rapids, Our Brother’s Keeper Shelter is preparing for our opening on Nov. 1. This is the shelter’s second season and we hear there are already homeless folks waiting anxiously for the doors to open. Last year, we housed 109 people, including individual men and women, and families with young children. The opening marks the beginning of National Homeless Month.

In order for that to happen on time, more volunteers are needed. Guest chaperons are needed for daytime shifts of four or more hours over night. We provide training and orientation for new volunteers whose only qualifications are to have a compassionate heart for the homeless and be able to pass a background check.

Funding is needed to sustain our building and operational costs. We invite groups to organize fundraisers just as the shelter board did with the huge sale this summer, as Coldwell Banker employees did this past weekend with Halloween photos and how FSU students have with a food drive. OBK Shelter is very grateful for these efforts.

People look upon charity in different ways. Some feel it is the responsibility of the government to house our homeless populations, while others believe caring individuals and groups should provide it. We would ask the first group to advocate to the local and state government for solutions to homelessness and expect the second group to be generous with their donations of funds and time. We encourage people of faith to live it through helping those in need and by asking us to give presentations at your church.

We invite readers to check our website at and to “like” our Facebook page, Our Brother’s Keeper Shelter. You also can contact us via email or phone to learn more or volunteer at or by calling (231) 629-8033.

We ask you to warm your heart by helping OBK provide a “meal a day and a place to stay” for the homeless individuals and families in the area.


Pamela Fleming
OBK Shelter President

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