November GIVE Project – Muskegon Rescue Mission

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Muskegon Rescue Mission – November 2016

This month, for our Klingel Homes GIVE Project, we are partnering with the Muskegon Rescue Mission!

The Muskegon Rescue Mission will be distributing Thanksgiving Food Baskets to anyone in need who is a resident of Muskegon County on
Monday, November 21 and Tuesday, November 22nd, so we decided to partner with them through Meijer’s Simply Give Program!

We’re so excited that Meijer partnered with them last weekend and double matched donations to the mission through the Simply Give program!

The Muskegon Rescue Mission helps demonstrate and proclaim God’s love to the less fortunate and homeless people of West Michigan.
They also provide food, shelter, clothing and spiritual direction all year long. Check out their website,
learn more about the amazing work that they do for our community, and consider donating to this amazing ministry!

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September GIVE Project – The People Center of Spring Lake

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     For our September GIVE Project, the Klingel Homes Team took a trip to the People Center of Spring Lake. We were privileged to meet with their Director, Karen Reenders. We got to tour their facility, and hear about what they do for our community.

     The People Center is focused on helping people who are in a financial crisis. It is a place designed to provide a safe haven for people of the area to come, be heard, and receive practical assistance in an atmosphere of dignity and trust. In times of emergency, they provide food, clothing, and temporary housing to people in our community.

     The People Center encourages families and individuals toward independence, so they designed their organization in a way that allows people to receive the help they need, without becoming dependent on the organization. They look at everyone coming in, try to define their needs, and ask “what do we have to do to get them back on their feet?” Their goal is to get clients to where they can survive on their own without anyone else’s help.

     People in times of emergency can come and receive a 3-day supply of food, up to 4 times per year. When asked if their food pantry has been busy this year, Karen said: “We’re actually less busy now than we were last year at this time. In 2009 the need for food skyrocketed, and we couldn’t keep up. This is the first year since 2009 that we’ve seen a decline in the need for food. But we’re still busier than we ever were before 2009. In 2009 the need in our community was immense. My volunteers couldn’t keep up; we had a line out the door 25 people deep, the need for food was just incredible.”

     The People Center also provides free clothing to their clients of all ages, and even allows people who are involved with the Work First Program, who are interviewing for a job to come in and receive free clothes for their interview. We asked Karen how much clothing they give away, and she replied: “It goes out as quick as it comes in! Our volunteers just keep the best of the best donations, so if a piece of clothing is questionable, stained, or out of style, it’s gone. Our volunteers only keep beautiful things.”

     If a family or individual is struggling with debt or housing, the People Center has amazing programs to help them get back on their feet. The People Center has 6 apartments that allow eligible clients to live rent and utility free for up to 6 months, allowing them time to save money and get out of debt. The center encourages anyone staying in their apartments to go to the City of GH Financial Empowerment Center. The Financial Empowerment Center provides classes help people to get out of debt, and get their finances in order so they will be able to buy a home in the future. Some people have even been ready to purchase a home immediately after they leave the people center apartments!
The People Center is truly driven by the volunteers who come and give of their time each week. They have a team of over 60 volunteers who sort clothing, shop for food, and run the front desk, among other things. The People Center is always looking for more volunteers that are willing to give some of their time to benefit their community. Currently they’re even looking for someone to take over the care of their vegetable garden. So if you, or anyone you know is passionate about gardening, please contact the People Center!
When asked what the People Center’s greatest need is, Karen told us: “The People Center’s greatest need is consistent food donations.” So if you are interested in donating food or clothing items, or becoming a partner, please call them at 616-844-6710, and they can tell you what they currently need most, so that you can help them as best as possible!
We are so excited about what the People Center is doing for our community, and we hope you will be too!

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GIVE Project – Gracious Grounds – July 2016

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Gracious Grounds – July 2016

There is a new non-profit organization in the area! During the month of June, we had the opportunity to meet Sandy Baker, the Executive Director of Gracious Grounds. She was kind enough to show us around the first property acquired by the organization and tell us about the work they are doing.

Gracious Grounds is a faith based community offering housing opportunities to people with unique abilities. Their mission is to look beyond limitations to create an environment that is affordable, friendly and resident centered. Gracious Grounds works to emphasize life enriching activities and togetherness by promoting community involvement inclusion, employability skills, daily living skills, academic learning and spirituality.

Safety and security are some of the most important aspects that families look for in housing for their family members with disabilities. The property that Gracious Grounds has acquired from Love In the Name of Christ, meets these needs perfectly. The building was previously used as a hospice care facility when it was originally built, so each room is private and individually secured. Each resident has their own bedroom and bathroom, much like a hotel suite! They have personalized their rooms with colors and themes that make them feel at home. In addition, there will be a Resident Assistant in the house, on a part time basis, merely just to check on the residents to see if they need anything, much like a caring, compassionate neighbor.

Sandy informed us that another goal of Gracious Grounds is to connect the residents to opportunities in the community and to the businesses in the area. “Just as you prepare your own children for their journey into young adulthood – sending them off to college, off to a dorm room, into their first apartment – and preparing them for their first career…..I, too, help to prepare young people, with unique gifts and talents for those same goals, dreams and endeavors. The only difference, as I see it, is the amount of support needed for people with unique challenges to gain successful employment, live on their own, or with a roommate, and carry on successful, fulfilling lives with a purpose! I have always believed that people with different abilities have something to teach us – all of us!!! If you have ever had the opportunity to work side by side with a person with a disability, or have welcomed someone into your social circle and into your life with unique gifts and talents – then, you know the benefits you have received!

Many, but not all, of the residents have part time jobs in local businesses.   There are several residents that desire that opportunity. I believe when the residents offer to assist or volunteer in local businesses, many business leaders witness the gifts, talents and skills that have been instilled in each of these individuals, which may lead to a paid position in the future. Realizing the determination, tenacity and drive that these individuals possess is inspiring, as well as witnessing the benefits that others receive when they work side by side with a person with a disability. These opportunities can shift paradigms in our community. Several local businesses have received the benefits from hiring a person from Gracious Grounds. Leppinks, Orchard Market, The Holiday Inn, Michigan Shippers and The Spring Lake Country Club presently employ several residents from Gracious Grounds.”

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Our friends of gracious grounds at their annual fundraiser (left), and bagging coffee beans (right).

As we continued talking to Sandy about the work of Gracious Grounds, we were overwhelmed by her passion and commitment. She shared how having a son (Eric) with Down Syndrome, as well as serving students with unique abilities as a Special Education Teacher and past Principal, have been the catalyst for the development of the organization. Housing for people with disabilities is an unmet need in many communities. There is a waiting list for this property already! I am receiving phone calls from other communities desiring Gracious Grounds to come into their neighborhoods! Gracious Grounds is also hopeful to obtain an apartment building in the area soon. Several applicants desire to have their own one bedroom, one bath apartment and/or live in a two bedroom/two bath apartment with a roommate.

When we asked Sandy what her biggest struggle has been to date, she expressed the fact that she has been frustrated, at times, by the length of time it has taken to get the organization to the point it is today. “My patience has been tested over and over again. But, I know there was a reason for every delay!! With every delay another opportunity would open up – most of the time even better than the previous opportunity!”

Gracious Grounds is a newer non-profit and any success that they have achieved has been directly related to the level of financial support the community provides. They are actively looking for volunteers and resident assistants to join their team. If you would like to share your gifts and talents with Gracious Grounds, consider contacting Sandy Baker at sandrajbaker63@gmail.com or if you would like to donate directly, you many send your contribution to Gracious Grounds at PO Box 393, Spring Lake, Michigan 49456.

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GIVE Project – Love INC – May 2016

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May 2016 – Love INC. Tri-Cities

     We had the pleasure of meeting with Katie Appold, the Executive Director of Love INC Tri-Cities. She was gracious enough to show us around their Free Health & Dental Clinic, the building for which was given to them in 2014 by a local dentist, Dr. Riopelle.

     Love INC provides twenty-seven individual ministries through area churches.  Each ministry is made possible by donations of funding, volunteer hours, and other resources by their network of churches and the Tri-Cities Community.

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     As we talked with Katie about all the different ministries Love INC provides, we had the chance to ask her some specific questions.

     “What is the greatest struggle that Love INC faces?”

“Funding! People come in and they see this beautiful office and the artwork on the walls, and they don’t think we need the funds. But the building, the artwork, the furniture, it was all a gift! We’re not paying for it out of pocket. 76% of our money goes to programs. We are truly about meeting needs and not administrative costs. Our marketing expenditures are around 3%, which is unheard of. [The average advertising allocation usually ranges between 9-12% of an annual budget.*] We do a lot through social media and with our e-news letter. We do one print newsletter every 2months, and that is it.”

       We expressed our surprise at the size and reach of the organization, to which Katie replied: “It’s funny how many people support Love INC but they think we’re just a food pantry! If they just knew the enormity of everything that was happening…”

     Not only does Love INC have a phenomenal food pantry, which feeds 10 local food pantries, but they also have amazing housing ministries, including the Hope House Women’s Shelter, and the Harbor House Men’s Shelter. The Love INC Sheltered Housing programs are designed to serve the whole individual, not just give them a place to stay.  They do this by fostering growth in the areas of life that support sustainability such as Money Management, Life Skills (nutrition, conflict management, communication, scheduling), Biblical Knowledge, Volunteerism, and Job Placement Assistance. While explaining the magnitude of their housing programs, Katie said: “People are always shocked that we have homeless people in this area, but we have full houses with waiting lists!”

“What are the best moments with Love INC?”

“The best moments by far, are when it’s undeniable that God is in control of the ministry. It’s just GOD, showing up and meeting the need, helping us to do what we do. And it happens all the time!”

     Katie also told us about their newest housing project, Providence Place. Providence Place is a barrier-free, low cost housing opportunity for mentally able, but physically disabled people. Love INC. seeks to meet the need of physically disabled people to have a place to call home, freedom to move about the community, and be in a location with others who relate to the unique challenges of their lives. The Providence Place campaign is currently seeking $850,000 in community philanthropy to fund its ministry goals.

     Love INC believes in the potential and purpose of each person. They aim to care for neighbors in need and help give them a hand up through programs focused on basic needs like shelter, food, health/dental care, life skills, and household sustainability. Learn how you can begin offering help, hope and Love In the Name of Christ at www.lovecinctricities.org

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*https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/cost-of-marketing-what-is-the-average-budget/