Mel Trotter Ministries announces changes to food pantry and day center

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)-  Following a year of research and planning, Mel Trotter Ministries is making changes to its food pantry and day center in an effort to reduce the duplication of services, increase partnerships with other area agencies, and make a greater impact for people in need.

In 2016, Western Michigan University approached Mel Trotter Ministries offering to purchase the two buildings that house the current locations of the day center and food pantry. After prayerful consideration by the leadership and board of directors, MTM sold the buildings and parking lot with plans to continue offering the same or similar services in different locations. WMU takes possession of the buildings on January 1, 2018. The main Mission building that houses emergency shelter was not sold and will continue to provide programs and services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

MTM will close the food pantry in its current form and will change to a food distribution model. The Mission will continue to receive food from donors and will use some food to serve meals in the cafeteria. The remaining food will be distributed to local pantries and the current pantry users will be directed to other area pantries that provide the same resources without disrupting the needs. The last day of the MTM food pantry will be December 14, 2017.

December 11, Mel Trotter Ministries will move the services of its current day center to Dégagé Ministries on 144 Division Avenue South. The two agencies have pooled their resources to create a partnership. The pilot project is called the “Heartside Community Center”. Together the agencies provide meals, a safe warm space, access to supportive staff, resources for emergency shelter and other services for individuals experiencing homelessness. The Heartside Community Center will be open from
7 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. daily (closed during the lunch hour).

“We are able to use the skills and the competencies of both of our organizations while being better stewards of our donor resources, to better serve our neighbors experiencing hunger and homelessness,” said Dennis Van Kampen, CEO of Mel Trotter Ministries. “Through partnerships like these, we believe that God will bless and multiply our efforts so that together we can make an even greater impact on our community.”

“Dégagé Ministries welcomes the opportunity to partner with Mel Trotter Ministries to pilot the Heartside Community Center,” said Marge Palmerlee, Executive Director of Dégagé Ministries. “Our day center has long been a welcomed respite for our Heartside neighbors, so we are excited that this partnership may reach more people thanks to the center’s expanded hours and increased staff support.”

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