Taking Time to Serve

June 2014

Russ and Margo, offering to substitute for a friend, served as volunteers with The Other Way Ministries’ food pantry one summer. They continued to serve periodically, when needed, for about a year.

As supporters of Fair Haven Ministries’ grocery cart ministry, Russ and Margo quickly responded when they heard of the need for more regular pantry volunteers. Initially responsible to stock shelves, they were soon organizing stock, helping to order supplies and coordinating food drives with Fair Haven. Russ and Margo enlist the help of Thorval, Bob, Sandy, Roger and Lynn. Even their grandson Connor gets involved when on school breaks.

Russ and crew2You’ve heard the term “giving the shirt off your back”… this group of volunteers has literally given clothes from their own closets. While talking to a neighbor, Dave, they learned he needed clothing, especially pants. Two of the guys were Dave’s exact size, and, well, you know the rest of the story.

While helping with the recent pantry renovations, Russ was struck by the comments he heard from several neighbors – that people cared enough to come and make the pantry look so nice for them. Russ said:

“By working in the pantry, all of us hope we are the hands, feet, and heart of Christ at work in this part of Grand Rapids. God has given us the ability and time, at this point, to do the work we as Christians are expected to do.”

What began as a favor to a friend, blossomed into a wonderful partnership between the Fair Haven team and The Other Way Ministries.


Troop 21 Cleans Up!

April 2014

In March, we hosted the young men from Boy Scout Troop 21 in Zeeland for the 7th straight year. They provided dumpsters and muscle for a spring clean-up event.

Potluck Pickup partnered with the Boy Scouts again this year by providing a compactor truck, allowing neighbors to dispose of more refuse than ever before! Although snow was still thick on the ground, more than 60 families took advantage of this opportunity to do some ‘Spring Cleaning’. Leaders and scouts also made pickups at homes and drove around the streets and alleys of the Westside, removing large items.

The group also helped our friends at Servant’s Community Church clean up after a roof tear-off. We are so grateful for these hard working guys and their leaders; especially for their servant hearts.

We also want to thank Potluck Pickup for the generous donation of the dumpsters and disposal. This is an incredible gift to our community each spring!



Offering Community

The Other Way Ministries Community Resource Center (CRC) has many facets. It is a coffee shop, community center and food pantry. Amazing relationships are created and work is being done in Westown because of the ministry of The Other Way.

The staff of the CRC provides resources, referrals, coffee, conversation, compassion and hope to our friends in Westown. Many of our neighbors are seeking employment, but the challenges of resume writing, on-line applications and computer and internet availability make the effort virtually impossible. For many, working out these obstacles is discouraging; a daunting task. With the help of GVSU Bachelor of Social Work intern, Angela, we have been able to expand our ‘walking alongside’ capabilities.

In the last few months, Angela has helped many neighbors compile their work histories and skills into resume form. Endless hours have been spent looking over a neighbor’s shoulder, perusing the internet for well-fitting employment. The Other Way offers a valuable resource both in accessibility and skill with the work Angela does. Having a sense of purpose, value and independence  are vital to feelings of well-being. We are grateful for the opportunity to help meet such an important dimension in creating healthy and productive families.


Troy’s Journey

Troy began his journey at The Other Way as a volunteer through CAP (a re-entry related program) in July 2013. At that time, he was also volunteering with our partner organization SWAN (South West Area Neighbors).  Troy was a valuable member of our team during the renovation project of the Activity Center. He has also helped with a variety of other neighborhood projects, snow removal, unloading food trucks and organizing food in our pantry.

For two months Troy has been giving between 50-70 volunteer hours of his time in the community.  After many hours of volunteering and connecting with people through the Community Resource Center, Troy was able to find affordable housing in our west side community.

Troy also became involved with the Proud Fathers program, where he was able to connect with other men who shared common issues about family. Troy shared about his family, about life’s good and sometimes tough choices in being a father. He graduated from the 12 week program on December 12, 2013.  He was able to find the support he needed during this transitional period of his life to take these positive next steps.

Troy’s growth and leadership skills have gone “above and beyond” here at The Other Way. His work ethic and skills have been noticed by many others in our community. Troy recently interviewed for a position and began employment on February 10, 2014. This has been a blessed journey, from volunteering through CAP to decent housing to the Proud Father’s program to graduation to employment. To God Be The Glory!