Cardboard Prophets, a street-based outreach initiative, organized a community park cleaning event at Reutter Park on Nov.6.
Mike Karl, the founder of the group, said this was their first clean-up event.
“The community complained the park was dirty, getting overrun with drug users, we want to leave the place the way we found it. Ruetter is the only park in Lansing with a lot of features though,” Karl said.
The event is open to everyone, participants are supposed to bring the trash bags, gloves and love.
“Being a volunteer as a member of the organization makes me feel the sense of existing, and I find the place where my love is going to,” said Beckie Burke, one of the members of Cardboard Prophets.
Cardboard Prophets has been founded by Karl since 2010. He said they are trying to help the homeless and connect resources they need.
“No matter what the park in Lansing you going to is gonna be drugs everywhere, but it is the attitude the exposures you bring here and get it out.The drug addicts deserves chance too,” said Karl.
Once to twice a week, the organization set up tables and offers clothing and food, trying to get people into the shelters.
Homeless Angels, a hotel program that is connected to the shelter, which was also founded by Karl, is trying to get people through the systems to get permanent housing. Last year, there were 59 people living in a hotel in Lansing. In Flint and Detroit, there are two sister organizations.
“When I was homeless, I was homeless in Lansing, this was a huge thing for me, I decided to give something good back to the Lansing community, for myself,” said Karl.
Since 2010, Karl voluntarily lives on the shelter one week a year at winter time to experience the homeless life.
“I hope it is cold, it is freezing, I do the live broadcasting online for a whole week. I don’t go home, I sleep outside. I left the community see what exactly going on here in Lansing homeless community,” Karl said.
“CEO sits behind the desks, and gets paid to help people, I don’t get paid. I just wanna be here. The community is my desk, this is where people live me. I am gonna come on, show I am no better than anybody else, and I will suffer what people don’t have to,” said Karl.
“There are professional people and lawyers homeless. You don’t need to live on the street become the homeless, even if you’re going from couch to couch living with friends, even if you don’t have your own established house or address that you can call it your home,” said Judy Williams, one of the Cardboard Prophets members.
“I work with Mike, we drive down the streets, carrying socks, blankets, coats,and snacks. We get to know who are homeless and hangs out the stuff to them in the winter time,” said Williams.
“Homeless people are not bad, all they just need is just to be understood,” said Williams.