Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

By Shirelle Moore
Lakeland News 

Red Lake Homeless Shelter Hosts Memorial Feast


December 26, 2017

Today is the first day of winter. For some, that means cozy nights by the fire, but what about those who don't have a home?

"We do it every year to honor all those who have passed away that are homeless due to winter exposure," says Jordan May, the executive director of the Red Lake Homeless Shelter Center.

The center has spent more than a decade helping those who need it most. This is their 11th annual homeless memorial feast.

"It's such a big issue going around all of America. Not just here on our small reservation. It's everywhere," says May. "First, we started with a spirit fire. Then we had the actual prayer and drumming to actually honor all of those that passed away due to winter exposure."

The food for the feast was donated by Red Lake Inc., and this dinner is only a small portion of what the center does. There are seven rooms and 18 beds meant for people struggling. There's also a full kitchen and washer and dryer that was donated by "Open Your Heart."

"Our staff is kind of like a small family helping all of these families. That's why residents get along with some of our advocates really well because they know exactly what they've been through," says May.

"I came in at 4 o'clock, and the tree was already up and there was extra decorations, then after dinner, I saw extra decorations, so I decided to do something with the kids and told them to write a letter to Santa," says Center Staff member Harlene Spears, speaking about some of the kids at the shelter.

"We help anywhere from 250 to 300 people, and some of those numbers can be duplicated for people coming in multiple times," says May.

The shelter has provided a safe place for hundreds of people over the years. Over the next few years they're hoping to grow so that way, they can help even more.

May says, "Our main priority is to get people housed and make sure they maintain they're housing."

The non-profit also hopes to add more grant programs and cultural activities in the future. They're also always looking for members of the community to lend a helping hand.

"If the public wants to get involved in any way, they can contact our service center and that number can be reached at (218) 679-3228," says May.

The center is busy working on a website to help in their efforts to grow. It should be up and running in the next couple of weeks.


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