Helping the homeless survive the cold

Posted: 8:27 AM, Jan 19, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-19 08:27:27-05

Ira Savage was taking care of an elderly woman and living with her. When she passed away, he had no where to go.

"That's when I found myself out on the street."

This week, Michigan's bitterly cold winter is back in a big way. With windchill, temperatures have dropped below zero.

"I see people on the street who when the weather dipped down this low, it's really cold, and they really need something warm to wear," Savage said. That's why he came to a Homeless Angels donation give away at the Magnuson Hotel.

"It helps a lot, it helps a lot," he said.

Homeless Angels received thousands of donations of toys, clothes, coats, household goods, and more. Chris Edward volunteered to help organize it all and make it easier for people in need to find what they want.

"It gives them a place to come, get some things, get out of the weather for a little bit," he said. He understands the need of the community, he's homeless himself. He stays with the Homeless Angels, and, in exchange, helps organize donations.

"It's simple to do, to help somebody, it's like they say, it's not hard to smile, it's not hard to give neither," he said.

Mike Karl, founder of Homeless Angels, says giving can be as simple as keeping extra gloves, scarves, and hats in your car. When you see someone who needs warm clothing, offer it to them.

The Volunteers of America are also stepping up to help the homeless during the cold snap. "You gotta find a spot for everybody because you know you can die tonight from exposure. That's as simple as it gets, we're just trying to keep people safe tonight," Patrick Patterson, the Executive Vice President of Volunteers of America Michigan, said.

The shelter in Downtown Lansing has opened up overflow beds to accommodate everyone.

Patterson says the VOA is always in need of donations, and to help out you can visit

To donate to Homeless Angels, you can drop off donations at the Magnuson Hotel in South Lansing every Saturday from 1 to 2 p.m.

Details here

Savage says everything helps.

"It's hard, but sometimes you just have to make it through," he said. "That's all you have, faith, just try to survive."