Families and individuals from Ottawa County turn to the Salvation Army for help in a crisis or for longer term support. Every month hundreds of people receive some form of assistance that can range from food, referrals, shelter, or maybe financial assistance. However the funds are always limited, come with restrictions, and only a fraction of applicants will be able to qualify.
Regardless of your background, religion, or gender, no discrimination will take place. Most of the support provided is done so as a last resort and applicants need to have exhausted all other resources. So an applicant would need to have applied for programs such as LIHEAP and contacted other charities first. Case managers will try to assist those local residents that are facing a crisis.
Utility and heating bill assistance may be provided to low income and working poor families. Eligible beneficiaries of any assistance will be Ottawa County or nearby families who are in need of assistance in paying their energy bills. Funds can be used to pay electric or gas bills and cover the service used in their residence. Priority is generally for seniors, families with children, and the disabled. Help may also be offered for those who do not qualify for assistance from other government, public or private sources. The main social service centers in the area re below.
Senior centers operate in the region, usually in partnership with other non-profits such as the Michigan Agency on Aging. This can provide the elderly a meal or recreational activities. The home bound may even have some items delivered to them by Salvation Army volunteers or staff. This can include programs such as Meals on Wheels. Other programs available can include occasional Health Services including annual flu shots, blood pressure testing, podiatry care and nutrition education.
Rent help, housing assistance, and general homeless prevention services are administered. This encompasses everything from emergency shelters to cash grants to make a partial rent payment. Applicants to the Salvation Army need to be facing eviction and facing some type of sort term emergency, as the aid provided is not sustainable over the long term.
Holiday and Christmas assistance is provided to children from low income families as well as seniors in nursing homes or an off site facility. Too many families in Ottawa County Michigan face difficult financial hardships and struggle even more to pay the bills or rent on time. They are sometimes unable to afford Christmas gifts, clothes, or toys for their children. The Salvation Army will try to help and bring them smiles and joy. Staff and volunteers work to bring the holiday spirit into the lives of those families that need assistance.
The Red Kettle Campaign is used to raise money during the winter. The funds also go to provide financial assistance year round. This is one of the main ways that the Salvation Army can help people throughout the year. Dozens, if not more, of volunteer bell ringers give their gift of time to help raise the money from the community.
Using other resources and programs, the Salvation Army also distributes new toys, clothes, gifts and other special gifts to families. Some of the programs are the Angel Tree, Adopt a Family, or even just the Holiday Toy Shop or a food pantry. Any person or business from the community may select a child to shop for. They can acquire the requested items, clothing, or toys and the Salvation Army will oversee this entire process and provide additional guidelines. Together, using the generous donations or purchased items from the community, the non-profit will try to make sure that every child from Grand Haven Michigan and Ottawa on their list receives a Christmas gift.
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