“We lost our home, but my dad told me not to be afraid,” explains a Grand Rapids Public School student. “Family Promise will help us.”
This story is one the nonprofit hopes to replicate in many more families facing homelessness in the Grand Rapids area with a $20,000 grant from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Outstate Michigan (RMCH). The award will provide more than 100 local children in families facing homelessness with basic-need items such as diapers, food, formula and transportation to and from school, as well as nightly accommodations for the families.
“During a time when so many parents are facing economic uncertainty, we are pleased to know that this grant will provide basic needs to children in families facing homelessness throughout West Michigan,” said Lesa Dion, Executive Director of RMHC of Outstate Michigan.
According to the Michigan Department of Education, the number of students experiencing homelessness has tripled during the past three years.
• 2007-08: 7,500
• 2008-09: 14,875
• 2009-10: 22,673
“Many of the families we serve are facing homelessness for the first time due to job loss, medical emergency or life crisis,” said Cheryl Schuch, Executive Director of Family Promise of Grand Rapids. “The grant will have a tremendous impact on the families we serve.”
Tabetha Bunce is one such client of Family Promise, who began working with the orgnaization after losing her job early last year.
“Perhaps the best aspect of Family Promise of Grand Rapids’ service is that it allowed our family to stay together through our time of struggle," says Bunce. “As a family, we garnered strength from each other."
After one month of engagement with Family Promise’s programs, Bunce was able to secure a full-time job and managed to obtain permanent housing.
Family Promise is here to serve Grand Rapids and to engage the community and faith-based organizations in ending homelessness, one family at a time. 1,199 of Grand Rapids Public Schools’ 16,337 students are homeless.
You can help. Put the good back in do-gooder. Here’s how:
• Learn more about Family Promise at their website
Source: Lesa Dion, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Outstate Michigan; Cheryl Schuch, Family Promise of Grand Rapids; Adam Russo, Seyferth PR; Tabetha Bunce
Writer: Jennifer Wilson, Do Good Editor