Thunder Bay's Grace Place Ministry is in dire need of volunteers, and the organization is asking the public for help.

The street-reach ministry has been offering food, clothing and a sense of community to the homeless, many of whom have addictions, from their Simpson Street location for five years now.

Pastor Gary Macsemchuk said while the demand for services has increased, the ministry has had to downsize recently.

The ministry is completely dependant on volunteers and donations, he said.

"Last year we were open four days a week, and this year we had to go down to three days a week because we didn't have enough volunteers to handle the day to day stuff," said Macsemchuk, adding that they served over 35,000 meals last year.

Grace Place also gives out emergency food hampers--up to 100 twice a month.

'Still straight'

Mark McCollum has been depending on Grace Place since it opened five years ago.

The ministry gave him his life back, he said.

"Finally, one last trip to detox,  they gave me a ride and I stayed there. I ended up going through treatment and here it is a year later - still straight," McCollum said.

Macsemchuk hopes more volunteers will step forward, to allow the old schedule to resume. 

In the meantime he's counting on an upcoming fundraising walk to help with other things -- like renovations to the well-used kitchen.

A new building is also on the group's wish list, according to Macsemchuk.

On February 23, Grace Place will try to raise $25,000 by  taking part in the Coldest Day of the Year fundraiser -- designed to give people a glimpse at life on the streets.