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EDITORIAL: Students, please help the Isabella County Restoration House to serve the homeless

Executive Director of Isabella Restoration House Ryan Griffius confesses his experience with being homeless, Nov. 16, 2017 by the Charles V. Park Library. He expresses to the crowd “I am the face of homelessness.”

Isabella County Restoration House served 157 homeless adults, 158 homeless schoolchildren and 12 children without families last year.

The ICRH is a service of rotating churches and venues in Isabella County providing shelter for those in need during the winter months.

Ryan Griffus, executive director of the ICRH, said the criteria for being homeless is so broad — couch surfing, living in a shelter, transitional housing or living in abandoned buildings — there might be roughly 400 homeless people living in our community.

This would give Isabella County and the Mount Pleasant area the sixth or seventh largest homeless population in Michigan when compared to other counties tracked by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

We can’t ignore this.

We’re college students. We don’t usually think of ourselves as having a lot of money. If someone asked us if we’re financially well off, some of us might just laugh. Many of us are barely getting by, working two jobs, taking out loans and living on ramen noodles. Privilege isn’t something most of us relate to.

How often do we stop and think about those less fortunate than us?

We all knew friends and classmates in high school who were one flat tire, one illness, one late arrival at work away from being homeless, but we never noticed. Those people may be barely getting by, still on the verge of being homeless. They might even be homeless now.

The fact we’re in college, living in apartments or residence halls is evidence we have means. We have privileges and support others in this community don’t.

If you don’t believe us, think about how you got here.

We graduated high school and made it to Central Michigan University where many of us will graduate from and find a job. Our families are supporting us or we’re able to take out student loans proving we’re a million miles ahead of others. We’ll earn statistically better salaries than those without a college degree to the tune of $20,000 more per year.

There are many in Isabella County without that opportunity. Their only future is moving from shelter to shelter.

The ICRH needs volunteers and money to help these people.

There are some of us who will say, “I just don’t have the time between classes, work and social obligations.”

Understandable, but many students will find time to binge watch “Stranger Things” on Netflix. It takes about seven hours to watch the second season. It only takes one to benefit the ICRH.

If you truly don’t have the time, we urge you to give money. Anything helps.

We know we asked you earlier this year to help raise money for Hurricane Harvey victims.

We’re doing it again.

Central Michigan fraternities and sororities pride themselves on raising large sums of money for our community and national charities — please consider helping the IRCH. RSOs can sponsor fundraisers and unafilliated students can give any amount of money.

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, we’re all stressed and busy — it’s OK. We should be thankful for what we have and give some of our time and money. We can’t promise you’ll get anything back from spending your time volunteering.

But that’s charity — it’s selflessness.

The Isabella County Restoration House needs our help to serve and take care of the homeless in Isabella County and Mount Pleasant.

If you have the time and the means to help the ICRH — make it a priority.

When asked how many student volunteer ICRH has, Griffus said, “Not enough. They’re such a crucial resource and they might not know or realize how much they’re needed. We need their help.”

Volunteer, donate money — whatever you do will make a difference to someone who needs help this holiday season.

Visit to fill out the form and become a volunteer. You can also contact Ryan Griffus at