“Tell Your Story” Facebook Contest: Cindy Bateson at Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy employees care for our Michigan communities. Cindy Bateson, a field planner in Grand Rapids, Mich., enjoys volunteering at the Family Promise of Grand Rapids. Check out her volunteer story:

“There were at least 37,500 homeless students in Michigan and 2,009 in Kent County during the 2011-2012 school year.

Cindy and other Consumers Energy employees clean up a house and its landscape while volunteering for Family Promise of Grand Rapids
Cindy and other Consumers Energy employees clean up a house and its landscape while volunteering for Family Promise of Grand Rapids.

In 2009, I began raising funds and awareness and have partnered locally with Family Promise of GR. Many people are unaware that the face of homelessness has changed. It’s no longer the ‘man on the corner.’ It is a 9- year-old child. It is not a drug addict, it is a single mother who works for minimum wage and cannot find affordable housing. 

In 2012, I organized an event called ‘Out in the Cold’ where myself and other individuals stayed in our vehicles overnight. The event raised funds and goods, but more importantly it raised awareness in our community.

I have spent many Sunday afternoons at the day shelter:

  • Offering assistance where needed
  • Making thank you cards
  • Reading stories to the children 

A group of Consumers Energy employees spent an afternoon making cleaning supplies at the day center. Household supplies are a very costly necessity and this is a healthier, inexpensive alternative. We made

  • Fabric softener
  • Kitchen and bathroom cleaners
  • Recipes
  • Freezer meals

I also arranged for a local cosmetology school to provide haircuts to the children and families enrolled in the program. These families cannot afford haircuts for themselves or for their children.

This year, ‘Out in the Cold’ is back but in a challenge form! Stay tuned!”

Vote for your favorite “Tell Your Story” contestant on Consumers Energy’s Facebook page. The winner will be determined by the highest amount of likes, comments and shares on each volunteer’s video. Voting ends Nov. 21 at noon.