Shelter reports year-end numbers
Hundreds of thousands of needs were met in Grand Rapids last year, thanks to a downtown shelter.
Mel Trotter Ministries this week reported its year-end data on how it helped people in 2014: it offered more than 87,900 bed nights for men, women and children; gave out more than 158,650 hot meals; reached 9,511 people through its food pantry; assisted about 169 families in finding permanent homes; and helped about 107 people secure jobs.
“These highlights confirm the work being done by our staff, our volunteers, our donors and our friends is good, valuable work,” said Dennis VanKampen, VP of programs, Mel Trotter Ministries. “We are eager to continue this work in the new year, as we look to feed the hungry, lift the fallen, restore the broken and heal the hurting of Grand Rapids.”
Mel Trotter’s yearly stats are calculated through the Virtual Case Manager system, or VCM, said Cindy Smies, director of marketing, Mel Trotter Ministries.
The majority of nonprofits around the Heartside neighborhood use this system, she said.
Smies said when a person comes to one of the local social service agencies or nonprofits, they’re given a VCM card, which will have their personal identification information and picture loaded on it.
“We create these on site for anyone who does not have one,” Smies said. “These cards are scanned whenever someone uses a service from one of the agencies. The point of the card is to avoid having the resources being abused, such as someone going to multiple food pantries and then trying to sell the food. This system is how we keep track of numbers — the cards are scanned before meals and bed nights.”
Mel Trotter Ministries also said that every donation given in December was matched up to $200,000 by Mel Trotter Ministries’ board of directors and “a handful of other supporters."
“Our friends and our supporters have blessed us again,” said Gordon Oosting, chairman, Mel Trotter Ministries. “Their commitment to ending hunger and homelessness in Grand Rapids is exceptional and allowed us to do great work within our neighborhood and beyond.”
A primary focus for Mel Trotter Ministries this year is to replace Rev. Chico Daniels, who resigned from his position as executive director last fall.