Throughout the years, Calvin Church has supported local ministries that promote community care, relief for needs, and social justice. Members are active volunteers in many programs. Calvin Church also commits financial support currently to the following organizations.
The mission of ACCESS upholds three main initiatives, including community development, food justice, economic development, and equity. The work of Access ranges from housing collaborative food systems programs including a food prescription program and a farm to pantry program, to facilitating workshops that simulate an experience in poverty and employing individuals with barriers to work, to assisting congregations in developing best practices in engaging issues of poverty in their neighborhoods. Throughout all the programs, Access’ vision is to cultivate a community rooted in equitable systems.
The Baxter Community Center is dedicated to providing Christian responses to human needs. Baxter believes that the burdens people face today do not have to become their barriers tomorrow. Located in the heart of the Baxter neighborhood, the center strives to fulfill their mission through a variety of programs for neighbors of all backgrounds. At Baxter individuals and families meet their emotional, physical, and spiritual needs so they can create a future rooted in hope. Baxter offers medical and dental services, a nationally accredited child development center, mentoring programs for young and old, civic engagement initiatives, community services (food, clothing, gardening and canning classes) and much more.
70×7 Life Recovery acts as a catalyst bringing church, business, and community resources to bear on the challenges facing anyone reentering our communities after incarceration. Their primary focus is to prepare individuals for a lifetime of dignity and independence through full-time work and mentorship. Services include mentorship, employment, job skills/life skills training and recovery support for men and women who have previously been incarcerated. In addition, they offer recovery support groups for those who struggle with addictive behaviors. One of CJC’s programs, Take Charge (an educational program for women), takes place at Calvin Church every Thursday morning, year-round.
Degage offers help and hope to homeless and disadvantaged individuals in our community. Responsive programming is designed to address immediate and long-term needs such as overnight respite for women in crisis, food, referral services, and hygiene facilities. While many of its services may seem “simple,” often it is the simplest of gestures that brings the most powerful results. For those 400-500 individuals served daily at Dégagé, many of whom are homeless and low-income, the hardships can be overwhelming—loss of shelter, loss of employment, loss of a loved one, loss of control and loss of opportunity. And with these hardships, they lose much more. Many feel unworthy and hopeless, especially after society has looked down upon them or they have been rejected after repeatedly trying to move forward on their own. Degage shows the love of Christ to each individual that walks through its doors.
The Eastown Community Association is devoted to fostering a safe, diverse, and walkable Eastown neighborhood by creating opportunities for neighbors and friends to engage and connect. Each year the ECA organizes dozens of events, facilitates public dialogues on key issues and is responsible for thousands of volunteer hours toward neighborhood clean-ups, beautification projects, family-friendly activities, and numerous other projects to improve the quality of life for Eastown residents, business owners, organizations, and visitors. Since Calvin Church is located in Eastown and supports the mission of the Eastown Community Association, we contribute to it by our financial gifts and use of our facilities, such as, for its annual pancake breakfast and business meeting.
Motivated by the belief in the healing power of Jesus and his story of the Good Samaritan, Exalta Health serves the uninsured and underserved with faith-centered services in the areas of medical, dental, behavioral health, and spiritual care. Through a professional staff and over 130 volunteers, Exalta Health provides a place of healing and hope for its patients regardless of ethnicity, language, gender, disability, religion or creed. Calvin Church supports Exalta to help cover the difference between cost and what patients can afford.
In a community where poverty, tragedy, and circumstances create remarkable basic needs, Family Assistance provides clothing and personal care items for individuals and families referred by social services agencies, schools, and community organizations. In responding to the needs these acts serve our Lord and our community with compassion, generosity, and quiet witness. Family Assistance is a leading clothing distribution program in Kent County, serving the poor through a highly organized and responsive system of collection, sorting, cleaning, sizing and order preparation. It is the longest enduring social ministry program of the church and is not only a tribute to God’s grace but a remarkable testimony to the energies, creativity, stewardship, adaptation and endurance of the leaders and volunteers who have seen to its thriving. The entire congregation has embraced this ministry with hands-on labor, creative partnerships, and thrifty use of resources.
Calvin Church was one of the start-up churches, bringing Family Promise (then known as the Greater Grand Rapids Interfaith Hospitality Network) to Grand Rapids in 1997. The mission of Family Promise of Grand Rapids is to engage community and faith-based organizations in ending homelessness one family at a time. Family Promise Programs include:
- Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) –an emergency shelter for homeless families where local congregations provide meals and private sleeping space to temporarily homeless families.
- Partners in Housing (PIH) –a permanent housing initiative that offers an option for home ownership for those qualified clients who would like to live in manufactured housing
- Furniture Donation Program – collects household items from donors in the community and gives these to families as they transition into housing
Family Promise allows families to remain intact during a housing crisis. This lessens the negative impact on families and children. Calvin Church is one of 16 local churches that rotate housing families. During the day the individuals look for jobs or housing while the children attend school. Up to 50 people each rotation provide food and company each evening for a week.
To volunteer in Calvin Church’s program, contact the church office.
Global Gifts is a world hunger project started by the Community Care/Social Justice Committee of Calvin Church in 1986. Located at 2055 28th Street, SE, Global Gifts is a retail gift and specialty-item store that is dedicated to help alleviate poverty in the developing world by opening up the international marketplace to struggling people. Items are made by artisan from many countries all over the world. Everything sold at Global Gifts is a Fair Trade product. Fair Trade guarantees women a fair wage – enough for food, medical care and education for their children. Fair trade is anti-slavery, anti-child labor. It supports the conservation of the environment and a just and sustainable economic system. Purchases from Global Gifts are not only buy beautiful, high quality products but also provide the buyer the peace of mind that the artisan who made the product received a fair wage and was neither exploited nor enslaved.
GR Initiative for Leaders (GRIL) is a faith-based organization created by alumni of the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative (DVULI), an intense leadership development training which promotes personal growth and community impact. GRIL’s mission is to strengthen leaders in order to transform communities. GRIL invests in emerging leaders by providing training over a nine-month period using the scripturally based DVULI curriculum to help leaders expand or develop the core values of balance, accountability, empowerment, interdependence, leverage, and diversity (working towards a racism-free community). This process helps leaders plan and implement personal, professional and ministry growth more effectively with the youth and the people they serve. Programs include the Adult Breakthrough Leadership Program, the Emerge Leadership Program, Community Leadership Trainings (CLT), and the GRIL U Teen Leadership Program.
The mission of the Grand Rapids Christian Schools is to partner with families to prepare students to be effective servants of Christ in contemporary society. The Eagles Fund helps to create accessibility and affordability and provides immediate resources that have a long lasting impact on students. The Eagles Fund supports the 700 students who are receiving financial aid and the 450 students who are receiving Student Support Services, as well as enhancing the educational experience for all students.
The Holland Home has been serving seniors in Grand Rapids, Michigan since 1892. Holland Home provides the full range of care – independent and assisted living, skilled nursing, and respite and memory care, as well as, home health and hospice services. Staff at the Holland Home is guided by the values and ideals of serving others with love and compassion, committing to excellence, and following Christ’s teachings and example in all they do. Holland Home is also committed to providing continuing care for its residents regardless of their long-term financial circumstances. Gifts to Holland Home are used to help extend care and pay the living expenses of residents whose resources are depleted.
The mission of Home Repair Services is to strengthen vulnerable Kent County homeowners because strong homeowners build strong communities. Homeownership encourages personal responsibility and builds value, dignity and pride. It is an essential component for community vitality. Home Repair Services serves low-income homeowners in a variety of ways, including offering an array of home repair and financial classes, loaning tools for folks to make their own repairs and offering low-cost paint and building materials. The interactions of Home Repair Services staff, community partners and the families served are characterized by: comparison, stewardship, inclusiveness, professionalism, collaboration
ICCF is a non-profit corporation whose leadership is motivated by, and programs shaped by: its belief that all people deserve safe, clean, affordable housing. In response to God’s call to justice in our community and in response to the saving love of Jesus Christ so that others may see his love in action, ICCF provides housing opportunities and services that encourage family responsibility and independence, thereby helping to build stable communities. Programs of ICCF include construction or reconstruction of homes for home ownership, offering opportunities for fair and equal access to home ownership for income eligible households. ICCF also owns and manages 439 affordable rental housing units throughout the city for a variety of incomes and family sizes. Additionally, the Family Haven program provided emergency housing for families experiencing homelessness with the hope to secure permanent housing in 30 days. Most recently the Community Homes Initiative of ICCF closed on a large real estate transaction to purchase 213 homes, previously owned by one out-of-state investment firm managing them to provide above-average return to investors. All of the homes are now being repurposed by ICCF to assure their continued availability and affordability for low and moderate income households.
The Micah Center’s vision is of a community where all people are loved, known, and treated as equally valuable with unique gifts to contribute. The Micah Center works to put love in action by working toward justice for all through educational experiences for member institutions, individuals and the general public about injustices that break down community, why they exist and how to make change. The Center also creates opportunities to build radical relationships among people impacted by injustice that nurture and challenge. Relationships result in action for change, building teams to work to make concrete change for a more just community.
No one should have to choose whether or not to get care for depression, anxiety, marital difficulties, dementia, stress or addictions because of the cost of treatment. The PAF is available to individuals and families in our community who come to Pine Rest for care but have limited resources to pay for treatment. The number of people helped each year depends on the generosity of donors. Of the money donated towards the PAF, 100% of gifts are used to help reduce the cost of treatment for individuals and families with financial hardships.
It is our privilege and duty as God’s people to follow His example in loving and welcoming strangers. Together with Bethany, the RRC helps refugees adjust to their new home, assisting them to achieve self-sufficiency within six months of their arrival in Grand Rapids. Some of the ways our church supports the ministry is by furnishing an apartment, providing food and collecting clothing and other household items. We provide transportation to appointments, take the family shopping, share meals with the family, give tutoring sessions, and teach budgeting. In addition, our church family supports the refugees with some of their financial obligations as they begin to live in the community and are not yet employed; during this time they are attending English classes and job training classes.
Contact the church office to get involved with the Committee
Safe Haven Ministries provides an immediate, Christian, safe environment for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Ramoth House is Safe Haven’s confidential emergency shelter. During their stay, residents also receive ongoing case management and support. Additionally, Safe Haven offers an array of non-residential services to women and their children, including one-on-one case management, support groups and a trauma-intervention program for children. Safe Haven envisions a world free from domestic abuse. Through the Prevention and Education Program, Safe Haven offers training and educational opportunities to businesses, schools, healthcare providers, human-service agencies and faith communities in order to prevent abuse before it even begins.
The mission of Urban Roots is to cultivate durable and resilient families, communities, and ecosystems through urban agriculture. Located on Madison Avenue, Urban Roots provides a food waste composting service for homes and businesses, operates a community market that sells healthy fruits and vegetables directly to their Madison neighbors at discounted prices, partners with 16 different organizations (including the Eastown Community Association) in growing community gardens, offers a youth corps program for immigrant and refugee youth in partnership with the GR Center for Community Transformation, runs a mobile classroom and cooking classes, and much more.
Wedgwood Christian Services extends God’s love to youth and families through professional counseling and educational services. As one of Michigan’s most highly regarded experts helping at-risk youth and families since 1960, Wedgwood is dedicated to taking on the toughest problems facing young people today. Dedicated to aggressively taking on the toughest problems facing young people today, Wedgwood addresses issues such as sex trafficking, abuse and neglect, sexual abuse and sexual behavior issues, substance abuse, developmental delays, learning difficulties, school expulsions and more with distinctly Christian and professionally excellent resources. The goal is to support and help restore the physical, social, intellectual, emotional and spiritual well-being of children, adults and families in our community. Of the troubled youth served in Wedgwood’s residential programs, 85% successfully complete treatment, and go on to live lives filled with meaning and purpose.
Wings of Mercy provides air transportation to distant medical facilities for patients who cannot afford to fly. Serious or rare illnesses are not always treatable at local or even regional medical centers. Sometimes the best or only treatment can be hundreds of miles away. And, even when a patient’s health insurance will cover treatment, it rarely covers transportation to those services. Wings of Mercy pilots volunteer their services and owners their planes. With minimal staff and low overhead, Wings of Mercy coordinates flights to meet appointments, pay for aviation fuel and expenses. Entirely funded by charitable contributions, Wings of Mercy ensures that 80% of all donation go directly toward sustaining the cost of flights.