What does the mission look like at 100% capacity?
How many beds are filled?
How many meals are served?
During the holiday season it’s not unlikely – actually, it’s already happened – that our downtown mission reaches capacity and more than 120 women and children and approximately 240 men are staying overnight in one of our beds. Just last week, in fact, approximately 70 children, ranging in age from 3 weeks to 16 years, were sleeping at the mission.
What does that look like?
What happens at night at the Mission?
It’s a little different for men and for women.
Men come into the Mission around 4:15PM. They store their belongings in tubs and receive fresh scrubs. Dinner is served shortly thereafter, and then our staff and volunteers offer a series of helpful classes for guests to consider. Men might participate in financial planning classes, parenting classes, Bible studies, etc. Once those classes are through, the men go to their beds until the next morning. Breakfast is served before they head out to work, to find employment, to find housing, and the like. It’s important to note here that individuals who do not have work often have responsibilities around the Mission. They might work in the kitchen, work with our facilities department, etc. The same goes for our women guests.
Women usually come into the mission around 4:00PM. That’s when we see school buses arrive. Women and children will go to their rooms upon arrival to work on homework or to play. They’ll eat dinner around 4:45PM and, afterwards, participate in classes just like the men. After a good nights rest, women and children scramble in the AM – just like any other family – to get kids fed, cleaned, and ready for school. Can’t miss the bus!
What is Mel Trotter doing to get these men, women, and children off the streets permanently?
What is Mel Trotter doing to get these men, women, and children home for the holidays?
There’s a variety things:
- Many of the classes that we offer (and that were described above) encourage and support guests in their efforts to find more permanent housing and valuable employment.
- Our day center is open daily to provide shelter from the elements, but also computer and Internet access to locate job and housing opportunities.
- The food pantry at Mel Trotter provides families with a variety of nutritious items to help them prepare meals. This helps limit the expense of groceries.
- Our staff partners with various community organizations as well to help guests find employment and housing.
And it’s working.
In the last year, more than 160 individuals and families found permanent housing and more than 100 people found sustainable full-time employment through the work of Mel Trotter Ministries. Nearly 150,000 warm and nutritious meals were served and more than 4,000 people were cared for in our medical, dental, vision, chiropractic, and legal clinics.
And all because of our dedicated staff and gracious volunteers. Including many of you. This Christmas we’re grateful for each of you and the good work you do to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ to all our guests and to end homelessness in Greater Grand Rapids.
To learn more about how you can get involved at Mel Trotter Ministries, check out our volunteer opportunities You can learn more here.