Assistance from Hands Extended Loving People.

Emergency assistance, self-sufficiency, information and referral services, and other aid can be arranged by Hands Extended Loving People. A small staff of part time workers and volunteers is located at the office, and they serve as a point of reference to provide information and support on most of the programs run.

Clients will find applications to financial aid programs, guidelines on how to apply and what someone may be qualified for in Ottawa County, and friendly staff to assist completing the intake forms. There may be grants from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), rent or security deposit help from ESG, help for finding a job or gaining employability skills, food, and even budget counseling. There is also referrals to other community social services.

HELP has basic needs, food, furniture

The furniture program from Hands Extended Loving People may have donated household goods such as furniture from anyone within the community. The donated items may even, in limited cases, be delivered to a needy family (such as disabled or elderly) who is in the process of reestablishing a secure living situation.

This donated furniture allows the family to use their limited funds on other financial necessities. Not only does it rely on contributions from the public, but physically fit volunteers are always needed for pick-up and delivery as well.

HELP Back to School resources assist kindergarten through grade twelve students in Ottawa County from low-income families start off the new school year in a positive way. Based on donations, the goal is to give each student a New backpack with required school supplies (such as pens, pencils, and books), clothes and shoes; and hygiene items. The agency will also partner with generous area businesses and community members across Ottawa County to help meet this goal to ensure that children have the essential items and self-confidence they need to be successful academically.

Financial assistance and home programs from HELP

General financial help and basic needs are provided by Hands Extended Loving People. All services provided have a strict application process, however they are offered in confidence. While the goal may not always be met, in general the objective is to provide some type of tangible support.





HELP may offer small amounts of money for paying for basic needs. This is when the applicant has no other resources available to them. Funds may be used for utilities, rent, vouchers for gasoline for a job, intervention, medical bills, and referrals. However this form of aid is always limited due to lack of resources and donations.

Free food may also be available. Many of the partner churches operate a pantry. Or some clients are given a voucher to buy groceries. This too is part of the HELP emergency assistance program.

The team at HELP also have a resource guide on local programs. They also form partnerships with other charities and churches. Therefore referrals may be given. The Hands Extended Loving People ministry may have information on resources (such as pantries, medical clinics, and financial aid) for lower income persons in their immediate neighborhood of Ottawa County.

There may be assistance for some minor home repairs. This is usually focused on very low income clients with a medical need, or that may be disabled or elderly. The volunteers from the ministry may build a ramp for the handicapped, install grab bars, or clean gutters. So the work is minor.

Non-emergency transportation for doctors appointments can be arranged. There may be rides arranged to a hospital, physician’s or dentist office, community clinic, or local pharmacy. Some people may need to pay a small cost, or HELP will use Medicaid to help pay for it. This is only for local visits in the Ottawa service area. The agency will decide which transportation mode is the least expensive, so some people may need to use a van, bus, or volunteer driver. No emergency support is offered.

This aid is combined with other health care support. Patients can seek vouchers to help pay for a medication, or be referred to local clinics in Ottawa County. The charity also has information on the affordable health care act, including application dates.

Many churches are part of the Hands Extended Loving People (HELP) ministry. They operate from 910 E Tinkham Ave., Ludington Michigan, 49431. Call (231)  843-6811.




By Jon McNamara

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