Mother donating warm clothes, fundraising to start a homeless shelter

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A mother's hope to help the homeless grew from donating warm clothing the last 14 months, to organizing fundraisers to build a new homeless shelter in northern Kent County.

Since Dec. 2016, Shanna Kuiper, a mother from Howard City, made 16 trips to Grand Rapids to donate a car full of winter clothing, including snowsuits sized for people she's met before. Wednesday, Kuiper made what she said would be her last trip for a while, so she could focus on organizing to build a new shelter.

"We want to try and do maybe a couple of them, two or three fundraisers, to start out to try and raise money for a shelter near the northern county [line]," said Kuiper.

Her trips to help the homeless in the heart of Grand Rapids turned into a calling. Kuiper tells FOX 17 after she shares her live Facebook videos that she records when giving out clothing, it takes about one week to gather the next donations.

"I want to make sure everyone is taken care of," said Kuiper. "Now we’ve got almost one hundred gloves, so that goes a long way today. The people down here are so receiving and thankful for anything they get. It’s amazing. They’ve all been wonderful."

Hearing each person's story is motivating her to do more.

"I'd been out for nine hours yesterday looking for a job," said Timothy Coleman to FOX 17. "This is the first time in my life I've ever been homeless. And I want to thank God for giving me some food."

Anyone who would like to help Kuiper's efforts to help the homeless and build a shelter can contact her via email at:

If you, or anyone you know is experiencing homelessness, the Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness is a resource that can help. Their hotline is available 24/7 at: 1-800-887-1107, or you can call 2-1-1.

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