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Last Weeks Speaker 
LOVE IN ACTION 
 
                It has been sometime since we have had a report on this fine organization formerly known as LOVE, INC. (in the name of Christ).  The new director is Josh Bytwerk who has been on the job for just 10 months.
 
                Love in Action is a multi-faceted non-profit which, by and large, does not take public monies and works in conjunction with other charitable non-profits to assist the needy.  We do not think of our area as financially depressed, yet there is always a strata of society which cannot keep up. This is because the more affluent the area, the higher the threshold of poverty.  Nationally, the poverty level is $24,600.00 which works out to about $12.00 per hour.  In our area it is hard to keep up at $20.00 per hour as a family.
 
                The mission of Love in Action is to empower people to thrive, and to force those in need out of hiding.  For three in ten families too much of their income goes to housing.  In Ottawa County 23,000 people face food insecurity and one in four of those employed have insufficient income to meet area living expenses.
 
                While limited education and/or training are always pointed to as major factors, Love in Action reports that broken relationships, whether current or past, are almost always a factor.  To address these needs, Love in Action operates 27 ministries in six different buildings, two stores, two shelters, and working relationships with other non-profits.
 
                The Hope House and Harbor Hall are located across Despelder Street from one another and basically next door to the Gracious Grounds project.  This housing ministry can serve 30 women and children at Hope; and 15 men at Harbor.  These facilities provided 8500 nights of lodging last year.
 
                The food ministry includes food trucks which give away 394,000 pounds of food a year; a community garden which adds another 1100 pounds of fresh vegetables; and, in conjunction with 10 area churches, food pantries which serve 3000 people annually.
 
                The dental ministry is located on Ferry Street in Grand Haven and treated 691 persons last year.  Most of these visits were for emergency issues.
 
                The healthcare ministry is a clinic which treats patients in lieu of an expensive trip to the emergency room.  This provides 886 services in 626 patient visits.  For $16,000.00 in staff investments, Love in Action estimates that it saved patients $104,000.00 last year in emergency room charges.
 
                Love in Action operates two stores.  One on Robbins Road in Grand Haven, and one in Spring Lake at Jackson and Savidge.  Through the resale of donated items, these stores generate one-half of Love in Action’s income. 
 
                Some of the other ministries include: clothing, counseling, appliances, transportation, church, budgeting classes, and a laundry hub.  All of this is accomplished by 350 volunteers and a mostly part-time staff of 32.
 
                So there are three ways to give.  One can donate time by joining the volunteers.  Secondly, one can donate items which Love in Action can turn into supporting income.  Lastly, one can donate money.  All amounts are welcome and Love in Action is also blessed by large corporate sponsors such as Meijers which donated $91,000.00 last year in money, items, and food.  The big annual fundraising event is their Auction scheduled for October 17, at the Trillium Event Center.
 
                Love in Action has been a longstanding and dynamic provider of services for those in need in the Tri-Cities for well over 20 years.  When you are looking for an avenue of service to others, keep them in mind.  Thanks to Josh for the update.
 
Raffle Winner:  Joy Jackson
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9/27/19Ryan HendricksonKelly SchincariolJunior Achievement
    
10/4/19Brian HumphreyCavin MohrhardtSLHS Fall Sports
10/11/19Rich JonesJohn NashPaul Harris
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