The Mackinac Center’s mission is to use research, legal expertise and other skills to shape the policy environment, thereby helping the people of Michigan achieve their fullest potential. But sometimes, it’s valuable to depart from the day-to- day routine and provide direct aid.
That’s why the Mackinac Center is partnering with organizations across the state to serve people in new ways. You’ll find one example at Midland’s Open Door, a soup kitchen and shelter located less than a mile from our Midland office.
This June, Mackinac Center interns and staffers volunteered their time to help finish a new shelter for women and children. Our volunteers scraped walls in the building’s basement to prep them for a mural. The space will become a recreation room for children and teens.
One door in the shelter will remain as a piece of art that features signatures of all the volunteers who have worked on the building, which the organization calls its shelterhouse. The Mackinac Center’s 12 volunteers ended the work day by adding their names to the door.
The Mackinac Center also funded the purchase of a new riding lawn mower, which residents will use to maintain the grounds. Open Door believes in the dignity of work, placing shelter residents in charge of many day-to-day household tasks and allowing them to develop tangible skills during their stay.
Our partnership with Open Door continued into the fall. Three Mackinac Center staffers volunteered in September at Open Door’s soup kitchen. Preparing and serving meals to shelter residents and visitors, which we will keep doing on a monthly basis, helps us learn more about our neighbors and give back to our community.
Volunteering to serve those in need is its own reward, but connecting with other nonprofits in our local community has additional benefits. We meet the Michiganders we support, getting a unique opportunity to learn about the hardships they face every day, especially the barriers put in place by the government.
We hope to continue partnering with Open Door and other nonprofits around the state to help Michiganders reach their full potential without being hindered by government barriers and restrictions.