In 2015, we…

Each month (and really each day) our team collects data.


Because measurement matters when it changes the way you act. 

Mel Trotter Ministries exists to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ toward the hungry, homeless and hurting of the greater Grand Rapids area.

This is our mission statement, our promise.

Our programs are creating an impact and our data helps us measure that impact. It also helps us gain trust and build credibility, while proving our work is working.

Here’s the data you need to know for 2015: 

  • Provided 84,295 nights of shelter (an average of 230 per night)
  • Served 134,826 hot meals (an average of 369 per day)
  • Helped 121 people secure jobs
  • Helped 224 families or individuals find permanent housing
  • Provided care to 4,831 public inebriates
  • Treated 2,254 individuals in our clinics
  • Assisted 73 individuals in our Legal Guidance Center

That’s a lot of compassion demonstrated.

And it’s because of you.

There is absolutely no way our team could do what we do to end homelessness without the support and generosity of thousands of individuals and families within the greater Grand Rapids area.

Thank you.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:15-17)

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Simply, more.

Many of our colleagues, co-workers, family members, and friends started the New Year with a set of resolutions, a realignment of priorities for the next 365 days. Our team is taking significant time this month to consider and realign priorities too.

How are we doing that?

We’re working on a strategic plan while remembering who we are and what we’re called to do. We’re also thinking deeply about goals for the year ahead.

Our 2016 goal? Simply, more.

  • More employment opportunities.
  • More permanent housing.
  • More transitions out of homelessness.
  • More volunteers.
  • More collaboration.
  • More lives dedicated to Jesus Christ.

Essentially, more compassion demonstrated.

Here’s the full list:

Transforming and transitioning more individuals and families out of homelessness. This means locating more permanent housing and stable employment opportunities for our guests. Our team would like to help 200 individuals find employment in 2016.

Encourage and walk beside our guests in their faith journey. This means we show them the love – and grace – of Christ by discipling them through Bible studies and helping them find church homes.

Deepen our partnerships and collaborations with other ministries and agencies. This means facilitating relationships and cooperating with other organizations within our community. Good work cannot be done without many, many hands.

Increase our number of volunteers by 10 percent. This means getting more and more individuals, families, businesses, and schools involved in our mission and vision to end homelessness in the greater Grand Rapids area. Do you want to get involved? Sign up here.

Become better stewards and reduce costs not directly related to our programs and services. This means perseverance in filling our needs while relying on God to provide the resources necessary to serve our guests well.

Become excellent. This means working daily to become the best we can be as individuals, as a Mel Trotter team, as an organization, as believers, and as agents of transformation in the great, big world of ours.

compassion demonstrated. To be compassionate is to hold another person’s pain in our hearts. But is also incites action and motivates us to help, to give, to lift and to love, to pray and to support. Just as Jesus Christ did. He sought out the marginalized. He turned toward the poor. He loved those who were hard to love. He forgave without getting even. He welcomed the outlier. He took up the cross and gave new life. Our mission is compassion demonstrated through faithful – and faith- filled – relationships with homeless individuals and families.

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Mel Trotter contributes to happily ever after.

Remember your wedding day? How you planned and prepped and prepared for the day? How you deliberated daily for months and months and
months over decisions and desserts and dresses?

Jerold and Mani have known each other for 10 years and have been waiting to get married for three. Their journey to the alter has not been easy or ordinary. Both Jerold and Mani are homeless and out of work.

Their story was recently shared on FOX 17.

It is a story about community, about community coming together to make an already special day – a wedding day – even more special. See how Mel Trotter Ministries contributed to this couple’s happily ever after here.

Home for the Holidays: a Christmas Miracle

Meet Frankie. Frankie was homeless and a guest at Mel Trotter Ministries for seven months, until she found a HOME.

“I’m glad that we did go through that program because we didn’t know what to do. They gave us encouragement. They didn’t say ‘OK y’all this is it – you’ve got 30 days.’ No. We stayed there a whole seven months. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where we’d be.” she said.

You can see her story – her Christmas miracle – at the below video:

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Grand Rapids Thrift Store Reopens as Furniture Store

There’s a new store coming to town…and just in time for the holidays!

Our 555 28th Street store will reopen on Saturday, December 12, as a Furniture Store and Clothing Clearance Center. The Grand Opening celebration will take place from 10AM to 6PM on Saturday. Popcorn will be served to customers all day long and hot dogs will be available to the first 100. Guests will also receive 10% OFF their purchase of $50 or more.

Shopping at – and donating to – each of our thrift stores directly impacts our Grand Rapids neighbors in their time of crisis. Three stores, one mission: end homelessness. Join us on Saturday to learn more!

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Have a gently-used coat you no longer need?

Mel Trotter Ministries cannot exist without the generous support and contributions of hundreds of community organizations and businesses.

Sheldon Cleaners and Cumulus Media are two of the most recent Grand Rapids-area businesses to come alongside our Mission this holiday season Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 8.34.42 AMand to encourage folks to give a different kind of gift this Christmas.

Sheldon kicked off their first annual 2015 Coat Drive
to benefit Mel Trotter Ministries on Friday, November 13, with the help of Cumulus Media and Gravy and Rachael from 105.3 HOT FM.

Paul and Louie Cares, the sons of Sheldon Cleaners’ founder, George Cares, said this about the 2015 Coat Drive:

This is an important time of year for us to give back. This coat drive is the perfect opportunity for us to do so. There is no better fit than to utilize the resources of our unique industry to fulfill a great need in our community.

Our CEO/Executive Director said this:

Every year, men, women and children come to us looking for coats. We are blessed to have community partners, like Sheldon Cleaners, that are willing to make sure our ministry can provide shelter, but also clean and warm coats for our guests.

Sheldon’s 2015 Coat Drive will take place through December 11. You can donate a gently-used coat at any of Sheldon’s 26 locations.

Deep, deep thanks to both Sheldon and Cumulus Media for their support in this capacity – and to all the businesses and individuals who have chosen to support this initiative to give a different kind of gift this holiday season. THANK YOU.




A Video Message from Our CEO

Dennis VanKampen, our CEO and Executive Director, recently shared a few thoughts concerning the mission and what God is doing in – and through – Mel Trotter Ministries this holiday season.

You can view his video blog here.

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Thank you for your continued support of our mission and vision to end homelessness in Grand Rapids. You are an integral member of our team, and we are grateful for you.