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 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 – TCM Counseling – June 2016

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June 2016 – TCM Counseling 

     For our Klingel Homes GIVE Project this month, we had the opportunity to meet with Sarah Lewakowski, the executive director of TCM Counseling, and got a tour of their Grand Haven facility.

     TCM Counseling is one of the best places in the tri-cities to be able to access professional counseling. As of this year, they have been in the community for 39 years. TCM’s commitment to the community is that no one is ever turned away. If anyone lives, works, worships, or attends school in the tri-cities, they will never be denied the counseling they need. TCM works with 30 professional, licensed therapists from private practices. So not only will a client never be turned away, but this allows clients to see their therapist very soon after their intake.

     When we heard how many therapists TCM works with, we were surprised by the high demand for counseling in our area. We asked Sarah how many clients TCM typically has at a time, to which she answered: “About 12 years ago when I started, we saw about 5-10 new clients a month. Now we see anywhere from 80-150 new clients per month.”

     They also can help some clients access needed psychiatric care, and are extremely passionate about suicide prevention. TCM even offers a suicide prevention training program called QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer. They provide QPR training for area churches, businesses, or groups that would like to receive it. Recently, this issue has come to the forefront of local issues, as the rate of death by suicide (especially in youth) for Ottawa County has been up dramatically.

According to the 2015 Ottawa County Community Needs Assessment:
“After 6 years of declining numbers, youth reporting they had attempted suicide within the past year increased 50% in 2013.”


     In addition to individual and group counseling, TCM is committed to offering other programs relating to mental health. They even have a school outreach program and are providing therapy on location at local schools for some of our community’s most vulnerable: students whose families cannot afford, or provide transportation to a therapist’s office. Right now TCM counselors are seeing students in 10 area schools and are hoping to expand that even more.

After hearing more about their services and opportunities, we asked Sarah a few specific questions.

     “What is the greatest struggle that TCM faces?”

“We see TCM as helping to keep our community healthy and happy by providing hope and healing for all. But one struggle has been fundraising for something that is not tangible. If people can’t see it, or touch it, or if it hasn’t affected them or someone they know, it’s hard to communicate that need and receive funding.

     And also sometimes the stigma of mental health, and the process of getting help can be a struggle. The sooner people get help the better, but there are still those who don’t believe in it, don’t think it’s important, and may not know where to get it. So that can be a struggle too.”

   TCM has a very unique model, which enabled them (in 2015) to provide the community over $900,000 worth of mental health services, on a budget of $327,000. So $1 donated to TCM can provide $3 worth of mental health services for the community.

     “So how do all 30 therapists get paid on such a small budget?”
“They lower their rates to TCM, by half or more of what they normally charge. So the client will pay their therapist an arranged copay, and then the therapist will bill TCM the remainder less the copay. When a new client comes in, we just sit and chat about what brought them in to TCM. It might take 20 minutes, or maybe 3 hours. And I’m good with that, however long they need to tell me their story. It is not uncommon for us to do an intake, at least once daily, of someone who is suicidal. But we want to give them hope, and get them to their therapist that day. That’s why we spend so long on intake meetings, to know they’re safe.

     So, through our conversation, I figure out what copay they can afford, based on their employment, family, etc. TCM never wants finances to prohibit a person from receiving the care they need. I’ll also determine what therapist they will fit best with, based on what they have told me. It is so important that we refer clients to the right therapist, someone they will fit well with. Among our 30 therapists, we have people with various areas of expertise and specialties. If the new client has insurance, that’s awesome! Or, maybe they have insurance, but have a $4,000+ deductible. We call that “underinsured” and they need financial assistance to be able to see a therapist. So whether someone has no insurance, or a high deductible, we’re going to figure out something they can afford.

     “What are some of your favorite memories of your time at TCM?”
“My greatest memories are talking to people coming in for intake meetings. So many clients we see have been turned down at other agencies and believe that they will not be able to access the help that they need. The relief and hope that occurs at TCM on a daily basis is amazing.  

     A judge once sent a man here for anger management, so I set him up with an individual counselor, as well as our anger management group. About a year later, he walked in our door with a woman and a baby and said: ‘This is my fiancé, and we need some help with our relationship. I knew we could come here because you were so nice.’
Another man came from one of the businesses in town, and after about an hour into the intake, he said, ‘I need you to know something… I’m an atheist.’ So I said to him, ‘I need you to know something… I don’t care!’ and I just saw him completely relax. My favorite moments are when you can see on someone’s face they’re surprised you’re not turning them away. I truly cannot imagine being anywhere else. The one thing that people should know about TCM is that we want to care about everybody. And we do, we care about every single individual.”

TCM Counseling has been providing the Tri-Cities with professional counseling for 39 years.  Utilizing a very unique model of very low overhead and a panel of 30 therapists, their commitment to the community is that no one is turned away.  In addition to individual counseling, TCM provides support groups, a School Outreach Program to our local schools, an Employee Assistance Program to our local businesses, and also provides QPR Suicide Prevention Training (free) to area groups.  TCM Counseling is proud to provide Hope and Healing for All.

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Klingel Homes GIVE PROJECT

Klingel Homes Give Project
     At Klingel Homes, our desire is to do everything to the best of our abilities, and with great purpose. We desire to be intentional, self-reflective, and conscious of the impact of our actions. As we reflect on years past, we find ourselves donating funds without forethought or investment of heart, so we decided to change how we give to our community.

As we are turning over this new leaf, we decided to give this project a name. The GIVE PROJECT is a movement created to bring awareness to the ministries that Klingel Homes partners with. When we give funds to those ministries, we will know where those funds are going to be used, and have assurance that we are being good stewards of the blessings that we have been given. Our goal is to meet with one ministry each month, learn about it, donate funds, and use our connections to bring awareness to the ministry and its needs.
Check back in May to learn about our first ministry partner!