Local church lends hand during freezing temperatures

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 11, 2019

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — A local church in Shelby Township recently lent a helping hand to a shelter in need during the dangerous temperatures late last month.

With temperatures reaching as low as 15 degrees below zero, Shepherd’s Gate Church members stepped into action and donated money to help find those who are less fortunate somewhere to stay so that they could keep warm.

Greg and Cindy Bohm, from Mount Clemens, who are members of the church, went out of their way to deliver a special gift to the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team in Roseville during the week of freezing temperatures.

The Bohms dropped off a check for $2,000 from the church to the shelter Jan. 31 in hopes of getting the homeless out of the cold and into a hotel.

April Fidler, MCREST executive director, said via email that “the shelter was at capacity and donations could pay for hotels for those in need.”

The timing was perfect for the organization.

Jeff Heisner, who handles media relations for Shepherd’s Gate Church, said that the check would be able to help seven families of four for a full week or give shelter and necessities to about 28 individual adults for the week.

MCREST is a place where men, women and children experiencing the trauma of homelessness find emergency solutions and housing resources.

“MCREST is one of a number of charities that Shepherd’s Gate supports throughout the year. Shepherd’s Gate hosts homeless families at their church one week a year, giving homeless families a place to sleep,” Heisner said via email.

The Bohms are involved in the church and take on roles to help those who need it.

“Both Greg and Cindy Bohm have volunteered on this mission for many years. During the week MCREST is on campus at Shepherd’s Gate, Greg serves in transportation, driving families to and from appointments, while Cindy does all the laundry for families staying on campus. After hearing how MCREST was at capacity and having an immediate need, the church leaders acted quickly to secure the funds to donate to MCREST,” stated Heisner.

The Bohms were happy to help.

“Just the temperature and weather we had makes it even more critical to get them out of the weather and give them a place to stay,” Greg Bohm said via email.

The Bohms volunteer with MCREST during the year and know all about its mission.

“It’s nice to see some of the money go out right now,” Cindy Bohm stated in an email.

Every year, Shepherd’s Gate donates a portion of its income to other organizations that help those in need.

“Shepherd’s Gate gives 13 percent of their yearly income to help other ministries, local and global organizations, and individuals in need. The money that Shepherd’s Gate donated directly to MCREST is part of the 13 percent. The money isn’t supposed to be donated until later in the year; however, when hearing about this need, the Shepherd’s Gate leaders felt like MCREST needed their donation immediately to help pay for families or men and women who needed a hotel during the coldest week of the year,” Heisner stated.

The church knew just what to do.

“We saw the story on Channel 7, where MCREST Development Director Eneida Hajiou said, ‘I don’t know how we’re going to do it. We have to put these people somewhere safe,’” he said.

Having a strong connection with MCREST, according to the Rev. Tim Bollinger, Shepherd’s Gate Church pastor, made it an easy decision.

“This hit home with our congregation. MCREST is a mission we help every year, and we couldn’t sit there and not help during a time when they needed it most,” Bollinger said via email.

He said he was happy to be there for the organization and to see the whole church step up and show some compassion.

“MCREST is such a great organization, and to see all the good they do every day is amazing. I am very happy to see our church step up and help out when they needed it most,” Bollinger stated.