WMCN News Briefs 9/21

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

nbDegage Ministries launches $1.3 million public fundraising campaign to expand services

Faith-based homeless support agency Degage Ministries recently launched a capital campaign on the grounds of their expanded property at the northwest corner of Sheldon Avenue and Cherry Street in downtown Grand Rapids.

Its goal is to receive $1.3 million in donations from the public as part of an overall $6.7m campaign to expand its facilities and increase its capabilities to serve more meals, provide more wellness activities and add more beds to its women and children shelter program.

Rockford Construction is the general contractor with Progressive AE providing architectural oversight. Macatawa Bank is providing financing and The Barton Group serves as a construction consultant.

Degage-Ministries-696x243"Dégagé Ministries ensures that our city continues to be a place of possibility for everyone," said Marge Palmerlee, executive director at Degage. "To meet growing community needs, we are expanding our capacity and advancing our mission by constructing a new three-story building and renovating our current facility. The expansion and renovation project will allow us to help more people find the path to a more sustainable future."

The notable additions the expansion will provide include:

• An expanded dining room to serve 90,000 meals a year (50% increase in capacity, from 120 to 180 seats)
• A day wellness center providing 1,000 – 2,000 new wellness visits per year
• A workforce development center with expanded programming to serve 900 – 1,000 attendees per year
• An expanded Open Door Women's Center, including rooms for women and their children providing 3,000 – 3,500 new overnight stays per year. A 65% increase in overnight shelter capacity and third shift sleeping space (from 40 – 66 beds).

Meanwhile, Degage has collected thousands of pillowcases for its Pillowcase Project, an art exhibition originally planned for ArtPrize, which will now be exhibited in Ah-Nab-Awen Park. The pillowcases will be on display at Ah-Nab-Awen Park through Oct. 1 to create a powerful narrative concerning the increasing number of women facing homelessness.

The decorated pillowcases are in honor of the 4,700 women who have accessed Degage Ministries Open Door Women's Center since 2003. Degage expects a surge in need for emergency shelter and other services for West Michigan women due to factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic and hopes the exhibition will bring light to issues surrounding homelessness.

Faith Hospice launches capital campaign

Faith Hospice has launched its Combining Care, Compassion, and Commitment Under One Roof capital campaign to expand its Trillium Woods campus in Byron Township, and increase services to serve more patients and families needing hospice care. Trillium Woods is Grand Rapids' only inpatient hospice facility.

The $2.86 million campaign has already raised more than $1.5 million in funds. Once complete, the project will include among other things a dedicated grief support center for individual, family and group bereavement counseling, a staff and volunteer respite and renewal center and a hospice training and education space, all to provide better and more effective patient and family hospice experiences. The campaign is taking place as Faith Hospice celebrates its 25th anniversary of serving the West Michigan community.

Mel Trotter movie debuts Oct. 8 at GR premiere party

A movie filmed in downtown Grand Rapids this summer will premiere at a special Oct. 10 showing at Celebration Cinema's Studio Park. The movie, "One Life at a Time" staring Dean Cain and Luke Schroder, tells the story of what homelessness looks like through the eyes of someone who had everything handed to him. A trailer of the movie is available here.

Special masks help campus ministry

Christian Reformed Church of North America-affiliated Resonate Global Mission regional leader Amy Schenkel has helped Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) students facing intellectual, physical, and emotional challenges cope with the COVID-19 pandemic by providing them with special see-through masks. Schenkel worked with leaders of Jabez Campus Ministry at GRCC.

Some of the students cannot wear a regular mask, Schenkel said, because of how it feels and restricts them. She took the request to the administrators of the CRC's COVID-19 Church Engagement Fund, and they agreed to cover the cost of 250 masks.

Schenkel said her hope is dual. One is "that these masks will take away the technical barriers for their communication." And, second, she hopes that when each student gives a mask to their professor or to the student sitting next to them in class, it opens a door for new relationships, new communication, and new participation in the campus community.
Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

Related Articles

No Related Articles Found

home app07 envelope
Submit News
RSS Feed
home app09 playVideos
faith-buttonPlease consider helping us by contributing to our publication. 

Donate directly or advertize your business on this site or in our newsletter.  It reaches thousands across West Michigan.