LANSING, Mich.—Lansing’s Human Relations and Community Service Department (HRCSD) hosted its Community Connect event at the Capital Area Transit Authority (CATA) downtown transportation center as a part of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week. HRCSD has been doing this outreach event for the homeless for some years now but this is their second year holding the event at the CATA center to accommodate the increase in attendees.
HRCSD gave Lansing residents who are currently homeless an exclusive “shopping” experience. Customers received a red ticket and a bag and could choose any items they liked. Volunteers were stationed throughout the center to assist when needed. When finished, the customers’ items were bagged and meals were then provided.
The Community Connect event also offered various resources for anyone who came, including Flu and COVID-19 vaccines, personal hygiene items, coats and access to agency resources like the Woman, Infants, and Children program (WIC).
One of the agencies that attended the event was the “life-affirming” pregnancy resource center Shared Pregnancy Women’s Center (SPWC), which gave out knitted blankets for any attendees. SPWC provides low-cost and free ultrasounds, pregnancy tests and prenatal resources such as parenting classes and diapers.
“We bring business professionals into our center and do classes. Like yesterday we had a licensed trauma specialist come in and talk about trauma and how it affects your body and how to recognize triggers,” SWPC’s Executive Director Christy Lambright explained.
Madison and Katie, second-year medical students at Michigan State University who serve as health coordinators for the Community Integrated Medicine program, also hosted an outreach booth at the event. CIM offered free health screenings that could be completed in less than 20 minutes.
“We’ve had a lot of people come through and do the health screening. A lot of people are getting their flu and COVID shot too, which is good to see,” Katie said.
“I think it is nice for us to have this because it is very accessible because it’s at the bus station,” said Madison.
One attendee, Teresa Williams, was excited for all the resources and items the event offered.
“I’m happy I got a new coat before winter came. I have been wearing the same coat for I don’t know how long,” Williams said.
With this Community Connect event becoming more successful by the year, Human Relations and Community Connect has made it an annual event and will be continuing to look for more resources.