by Elizabeth Wehman, editor

MARK STEVE had a desire to help the homeless this winter. With the help of three Durand churches, he is doing just that with the donation of 500 sleeping bags. The first of the bags are shown as well as other volunteers who have helped Steve in his fundraising effort. They include (from left) Pastor Don White, Mark Steve, Alan Lahring, Pastor Lisa Lahring, Pastor Beverly Marr, and Debbie White.

     Three area homeless shelters will benefit from Steve and the churches efforts to bring warmth to those finding themselves in need. (Independent Photo/Elizabeth Wehman)


Mark Steve knows good and well what it feels like to be homeless. Unfortunately, he lived that way for 20 years, until he changed his life and his heart and moved to Michigan. “God told me to get involved in something. If I can save just one person, it will all be worth it,” commented Steve. He found another statistic that bothered him. In Michigan last winter, numerous homeless people froze to death. Steve said, “That’s ridiculous,” and he set forth to change that for at least 500 people this winter.

From the help of three Durand churches, Steve began organizing a way to raise money to purchase as many sleeping bags as he could. The Pastor’s wife at his church, Debbie White, helped by giving him a list of sleeping bag manufacturers to ask them if they could help in his endeavor. Soon he contacted the Exxel Outdoors company in Alabama. They not only gave him a great price, but also agreed to donate 100 bags free to get the ball rolling. Just recently, 500 sleeping bags were delivered to Steve and they are now stored in church classrooms waiting to be delivered to area shelters.

Durand churches involved include Durand Free United Methodist Church, Light of Faith Fellowship, and Durand United Methodist Church. On top of all the monetary donations for the sleeping bags, they are also adding a plastic bag filled with toiletry items, gloves, socks, and tissues. The care packages and sleeping bags will go to three different locations including the Flint North End Soup Kitchen, Carriage Town Mission in Flint, as well as the Salvation Army in Owosso. Hopefully, the care packages will be given to 100 women, 350 men, and 75 children, along with a sleeping bag.

Steve and his church friends are asking for more donations to add to their plastic care packages. He also has a desire to do even better next year. His goal is 1,000 sleeping bags for next winter. Interested persons may make monetary donations or sleeping bags by dropping them off at the Light of Faith Fellowship Church in Durand. For more information, call Debbie White at the church, (989) 288-2990.

Helping the Homeless, One Sleeping Bag at a Time was last modified: October 17th, 2016 by Karen Elford