LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)—Mike Karl is the founder of Cardboard Prophets, an organization working to set up free outdoor stores in parks around Lansing. It’s giving hundreds of people in need every week a place of hope and a spot to shop for free.
“To give them dignity in their shopping. There are clothes on racks there are opportunities to get diapers and food and personal care items,” said Karl.
For Karl, it’s a mission that is also deeply personal for him.
“It’s been crazy to think that I used to lay on the ground here intoxicated and homeless myself.”
But out of the pain, he made a promise to himself to start on a new path and help others along the way. It’s a promise that is now fulfilled.
“It makes me feel accomplished because in the very beginning I never thought I would get off these streets,” said Karl.
Today more than 50 volunteers from organizers around the area came out in support. Chris Davidson helped give people in a need a meal of restaurant quality through a program called ‘Feed the Vulnerable.’
“Cardboard prophets reached out and said hey can you feed people and we said we’ve got a kitchen. I hope you like world-class BBQ and so, we are here to provide,” said Program Manager for Great Lakes Empowerment Services, Chris Davidson.
Karl says right now the need is high with more and more people struggling to find housing because of the pandemic, but he wants the people eating and shopping here today to come away with one message.
“That no matter where you are at, it’s not where you are going. There are better days ahead. There are people here that will help you. and there are organizations that will help and they understand, but there is also people who have been there too.”
Cardboard Prophets will continue their mission next Saturday at Logan Square with free food, haircuts, laundry, and school supplies.