GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Offers of help are pouring in for a homeless Michigan woman who recently gave birth to triplets.
"We have received hundreds of calls," said Janie Bergeron, who directs Green Gables Haven, a Barry County shelter where Monica Roberts, her babies and her mother are staying.
Bergeron's staff is working overtime this week to return telephone messages.
"There are literally hundreds of people we're trying to call back," she told The Grand Rapids Press for a story published Tuesday.
Invitations to take in the 33-year-old mother and her babies have been proffered by people in Holland, Kalamazoo, Lansing and beyond.
A man in Allendale offered an apartment and all utilities free of charge. Other offers — some of complete apartments and others that would require the family to share space — have come from six counties.
At St. Mary Catholic Church in Charlotte, about 15 miles southwest of Lansing, the Rev. Denis Spitzley held up a story about the family's plight that he had clipped from Friday's edition of a newspaper. He implored those attending three weekend Masses to consider donating to a special offering for them.
Spitzley ended up collecting $2,059 more than the $2,000 that people typically bring to the altar in a weekend, said Hope Steele, a secretary at the parish of about 400 families.
Roberts' life began to unravel just over a year ago, when she lost her job, was evicted from her Middleville apartment and became overwhelmed by several thousand dollars of debt.
Roberts said she became pregnant by a man whom she met at a tavern. She said she has not had contact with the father in about six months, after she told him she was expecting triplets.
She gave birth to a girl and two boys on Oct. 12 at Saint Mary's Health Care in Grand Rapids. Complications required her to be hospitalized during the last six weeks of her pregnancy, which lasted nearly 36 weeks.
All three babies were delivered by Caesarean section and spent two weeks in intensive care before being discharged from the hospital on Oct. 27. Medicaid covered most of the bills.
The babies spent part of their one-month birthday on Monday visiting the office of Middleville physician Christopher Noah, who treated all three infants for cold symptoms.
Roberts said she was "overwhelmed" by the outpouring of offers.
"I never expected this to happen," she said. "I can't even express how much people are willing to do for us.
"I'd forgotten how nice the world can be."