Urban Ministry Opportunities:
Grand Rapids is blessed with many wonderful urban ministry organizations. Below is a listing (in alpha order) of some of those that Thornapple has worked with over the years. Contact the organization directly to get more information about volunteering. If you want general information about our Love Mercy Do Justice Ministry efforts at Thornapple, click here.
Alpha Women's Center: Offers hope, acceptance, grace and help to women and families facing unplanned pregnancy, poverty and the lack of a home. Volunteer opportunities include GED/ESL/parenting mentors, class facilitators, data entry and administrative support, inventory managers, church liaisons, building and maintenance help, grant writing, special event help, and more. Donations of supplies, especially diapers, are always needed. Call 459-9955 for inquiries on volunteering. Website: www.alphawc.org
Baxter Community Center: The center seeks to be a resource to meet basic human needs in its community through effective programs and partnerships. Volunteer opportunities include: Mentors for the teen mentoring program, Meal Preparers, Tutors, Sewing Instructors, RNs, LPN,s and Pediatric Nurses for the Wholistic Health Clinic, a Budget Coach, Food & Clothing Pantry Volunteers, and an Arts/Music Activity leader for the Child Development Center. If you are interested contact Volunteer Coordinator at 456-8593. Website: www.baxtercommunitycenter.org
Degage Ministries: Serves the poor in the Heartside Neighborhood of Grand Rapids by providing a Life Enrichment Center (LEC), a Food Pantry, Meal Services and an Overnight Shelter for women. There are many volunteer opportunities including serving meals, helping at the LEC, office help, shelter assistants, etc. Thornapple serves the first Saturday of every month. If you would like to serve, contact Karen Knister. Another great way to help their patrons is to purchase Degage vouchers for $2 each and give them to street people who can then turn them in for food and other services at Degage. To learn more go their webpage at www.degageministries.org and click on the voucher image on the home page. For more information or to volunteer, call Dégagé at 454-1661. Website: www.degageministries.org
Exalta Health (formerly Health Intervention Services): Medical Professionals (doctors, dentists, nurses, etc.), Social Workers and business people serving the underprivileged who do not have access to health care. This is a unique medical clinic that serves a huge need in Grand Rapids. They welcome volunteers within a range of skills and abilities (medical, dental, administrative, maintenance, etc.). Website: www.exaltahealth.org
Family Promise: Provides emergency and long term housing, training and mentoring for homeless families, keeping them together in a time of crisis. They need volunteers of all ages; individuals, small groups or families. Opportunities include helping with the children or meals during overnight stays or by coming down to their day center to read to a preschool child, job training, literacy programs, mentoring, transportation assistance and babysitting services. If you are interested, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 475-5220. Website: www.familypromisegr.org
Feeding America West Michigan: A food bank consisting of seven warehouses that links surplus food with people in need. They serve 1,300+ food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, domestic violence shelters, rescue missions, and other charity agencies across 40 Michigan counties. Volunteers are needed to sort and re-pack food to be sent to pantries. This is great for groups, families or individuals. To learn more about volunteering, or to schedule a time to visit the Grand Rapids food bank, please contact the Volunteer Coordonator at 784.3250. Website: www.feedingamericawestmichigan.org
Every summer Feeding America of West Michigan has "gleaning" opportunities at local farms when volunteers can harvest leftover fruits and vegetables; making them available to local food pantries. Usually the lead-time is very short - less than 1 week - with harvesting typically done on a week day. We are creating a list of people interested (children are welcome with an adult) so that when we hear of a gleaning opportunity we can let them know. If you would be interested in being on the list, please email Marny Danz.
Glenn Van Noord Short Term Urban Missions Program: This is a Thornapple ministry that enables students (juniors and seniors in high school, and college students) to work for a summer in one of our urban ministry partner organizations, while earning a small stipend. There are full and part time positions. Applications are accepted each spring through our website. With questions contact Marny Danz at email@example.com. To learn more, click here.
Guiding Light Mission: An emergency overnight shelter for men in need which offers support for their social, physical, spiritual and intellectual needs. The Spiritual Truth And Recovery Training is a four month, residential, Christian based, addiction recovery program for men. Volunteer opportunities range from professional services such as legal aid and financial counseling, to working in the kitchen, serving meals and making beds. To volunteer call the Volunteer Coordinator at 451-0236. Website: www.lifeonthestreet.org
Habitat for Humanity: Builds and refurbishes homes for low income families here and around the world. They have easy online registration where you can sign up to volunteer as an individual or group. Weekday and weekend dates are available. Small groups can also sign up by calling the Volunteer Coordinator at 774-2431. Website: www.habitatkent.org
Heartside Ministry: In the chaos of life on the street, Heartside Ministry nurtures a safe community – a sanctuary – where our neighbors know they are loved, valued, and find their voice. They start to find their unique voice, a voice which may find expression in pursuing a job, getting an education, creating artwork, seeking stable housing, staying clean from substance abuse, or helping other neighbors with similar issues. Website: www.heartside.org.
Inner City Christian Federation (ICCF): In response to God’s call to justice, ICCF provides housing opportunities and services that encourage family responsibility and independence, thereby helping to build stable communities. Their volunteer opportunities include working on housing projects, doing childcare while clients are taking classes, teaching classes and helping at Family Haven their emergency shelter for homeless families. ICCF's main number is (616) 336-9333 and Family Haven's number is (616) 247-4949. Website: www.iccf.org.
Jail Ministry - Men and women volunteers are needed in various roles at the Kent County Jail. To learn more, contact Thornapple member, Bob Kingma.
Kids Food Basket: KFB is a hunger relief agency that provides sack dinners to school children who would not otherwise get a dinner. Small groups or individuals who are interested in volunteering should click here for more information. You can also contact the Volunteer Coordinator at KFB at 235-4532. They offer volunteer opportunities during the daytime and evenings. Website: www.kidsfoodbasket.org
Mel Trotter Ministries: Exists to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ toward the hungry, homeless and hurting of the greater Grand Rapids area. They have a shelter, food services, programs to help the homeless, counseling, food pantry, classes and more. Volunteers are needed to tutor, serve meals, offer childcare, help in their medical clinics and more. Contact Volunteer Coordinator 454-5255 for more information. Website: www.meltrotter.org
Next Step of West Michigan: Provides jobs, dignity and hope to men seeking restoration, especially those coming out of prison, rehabilitation, and other challenging circumstances. Volunteer opportunities include mentoring, offering jobs in your business or home. Call 243-4477 to learn more. Website: www.nextstep-wm.org
Pregnancy Resource Center: PRC offers crisis pregnancy intervention, 24 hour Helpline, educational information and assistance for parents with babies, abstinence education, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and counseling. Volunteers are needed in these areas: nursing, office help, counseling, sort clothing, maintenance or office cleaning and more. If you would like to volunteer call 259-1516. Website: www.prcforlife.org
Safe Haven Ministries: Offers emergency shelter and domestic abuse services to women and their children as well as community education and prevention programs. Thornapple collects used cell phones and donates them to Safe Haven. Volunteer opportunities include office assistance, shelter aide, childcare provider, transportation volunteer and more. To volunteer contact Volunteer Coordinator at 452-6664. Website: www.safehavenministries.org
Servants Center: A unique organization offering relationship based street outreach and ongoing support services to mentally ill poor and homeless people in GR. They are always in need of individuals who will offer ongoing support and build relationships with and mentor the clients. To learn more, contact SC at 616-456-8512. Website: www.servantscenter.org
The West Michigan Refugee Education and Cultural Center: Provides tutoring/homework help from 4 until 6 pm weekdays to refugee students, mostly from Somalia or Ethiopia, who are in grades K-12. Volunteer high school or college students and adults are a great help to these kids who are learning to speak English at the same time that they are trying to learn math, science and social studies. For more information contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 247-9611. Website: www.westmirefugee.org
United in Christ Ministries: They have many practical ways to serve the Black Hills neighborhood by offering multiple ministries and programs that impact kids and adults in the area. They are a diverse, multi-generational, Christ-centered community that has a passion for building relationships with God and each other. To volunteer call 443-6442 Website: unitedinchristgr.com
If you have questions about the Love Mercy Do Justice Ministry or would like to join the team that oversees this ministry, contact Marny Danz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seize the opportunity to get involved in one of these projects or others available right here in Grand Rapids. Make a difference in our local community today!