Snow, ice, and frigid temperatures have finally arrived in the Michigan City area. This cold weather brings an urgent, potentially life-ending need to shelter our unhoused population from nature’s most brutal elements. With this turn in the weather, shelters across our area fill more quickly and at higher rates and Nest is no exception to this. As a place of refuge and healing, we open our doors and welcome our unhoused neighbors in from the cold by providing safe, warm beds from the elements, hot meals, and support in a journey towards healing. This also means that we are operating at full capacity for our shelter or pretty close to it most nights when the weather is so brutal.

As a community member, supporting Nest benefits our entire community for years to come. One act of kindness ripples outward, in changing lives for the better. Here are five ways community members can support Nest’s efforts as we shelter, protect, and provide healing support to our unhoused neighbors:

1. Volunteer your time:
A little or a lot of your time helps make a difference in the lives of the guest at Nest. We know that people are busy and time can be in short supply to give time to volunteer at Nest Community Shelter. We have volunteer opportunities to fit all schedules. We always welcome community members to volunteer for tasks such as serving meals, organizing, assisting with administrative work, or participating in outreach programs. Your commitment can help our shelter operate more smoothly and provide better services to those in need. Many hands make for light work. If you are interested in volunteering or want to learn more about getting involved at Nest, click the button below.


2. Donate essential items:
Did you know that Nest has an Amazon Wishlist for basic needs to run our shelter? Nest often relies on donations to meet the basic needs of our guests. Another way to donate essential items is to organize donation drives in the community to collect essential items such as non-perishable food, toiletries, blankets, and sleeping bags. Regularly donating these items can ensure that our shelter has a steady supply to meet the immediate needs of those experiencing homelessness. You can find the link to a list of items we welcome for donation as well as our Amazon Wishlist which can be found at the bottom of the page. Please note, items do not have to be purchased from Amazon, any local area store will work as well.


3. Fundraise for the shelter:
Financial support is crucial for the sustainability of Nest Community Shelter. Partnership fundraising events or outreach efforts to raise funds for the shelter’s operational costs, maintenance, and program development are always appreciated. We will gladly accept any donations, from a one-time gift to a monthly commitment to a legacy gift given in honor of a loved one. These funds go directly to the care and service of our guest to support their journey to homes of their own and life off of the streets.


4. Advocate for affordable housing and support services:
Community support for policies and initiatives that address the root causes of homelessness, such as a lack of affordable housing and adequate support services, is always needed and appreciated. Join or support local advocacy groups working to improve housing policies, mental health services, and substance abuse programs. By addressing the systemic issues contributing to homelessness, you can help create long-term solutions.

5. Promote awareness and education:
Many people may not fully understand the complexities of those unhoused and the challenges faced by those experiencing it. Organize awareness campaigns to educate your fellow community members about the realities of homelessness, the services provided by the Nest Community Shelter and other agencies in our community that support the healing of our unhoused population, and how individuals can get involved. By fostering a more profound understanding, you can reduce stigma and encourage more people to support our unhoused neighbors’ healing journey.

Consistent, sustained support is critical to helping Nest complete our mission to approach with dignity, respect and love through guiding our guest healing journey. In this new year, make a commitment to Nest and our community because when we work together as a community, we can make a difference in the lives of our guests and the lives of many generations in Michigan City.