In 2011, the Lansing City Rescue Mission (LCRM) will celebrate its 100-year anniversary. The LCRM’s women and children division, the Family Center, currently houses between 85 and 100 women and children each day. Located on South Cedar Street in Lansing, the LCRM converted four Victorian homes to try to meet the growing population of chronically homeless women and children. “On average, our beds for women and children have increased by over 30 percent each year since 2005. We are grateful for the community’s support of the new Maplewood Center that will enable us to more than double our capacity. Families with children make up the fastest growing segment of the homeless population,” said Cheryl Motter, of the Lansing City Rescue Mission. The Family Center was founded in the 1980s and offers a playground for children, laundry and sleeping facilities, and meals. A significant portion of these women come from neglectful or abusive relationships, and are at risk for repetitive homelessness. To avoid overcapacity, they only need $130,000 to complete the first of three phases of renovation at the old Maplewood School in Lansing. The renovation will feature dormitory-style living for single women, as well as separate living quarters for women with children. It will be designed to more effectively address the issue of drugs and alcohol abuse in Lansing, and will offer drug and alcohol counseling. Each day, the women attend Bible classes and are responsible for keeping their living areas clean, as well as doing their own laundry and actively searching for jobs or learning how to work towards their GED. This fall, the Family Center will be doing their eighth annual Backpacks of Hope program, through which they collect and distribute backpacks filled with school supplies to Lansing area children. At the 2008 Backpacks of Hope, they handed out over 3,000 backpacks. To learn more about the LCRM Family Center or to learn how to volunteer, please go to www.lcrm.org/family_center.htm.