Lansing church based assistance programs.

Ministries, churches, and charity organizations partner together in an effort to provide help to low income families across the greater Lansing Michigan area. General assistance, including such things as food and clothing is available. However, the churches that are located in Ingham County may occasionally have more onetime type assistance available, such as a car repair ministry or services similar to that.

All assistance from the churches and charity is very limited, and they will help if possible. Other, clients may be directed to other solutions within the network of churches. Inquires for referrals to the United Way need to be directed at 866-561-2500, and the line is very busy. All requests for help must be made by phone.

Personal items are available from several churches in the area. They may have shampoo, paper products, laundry soap, tooth care, and other items that can’t be bought using SNAP food stamps. Some places may have dishes, cookware, silverware, kitchen linens, box fans, small appliances or other small household items.

Furniture is distributed from locations in Ingham County. Some of the church based groups operate thrift stores, where most of this assistance comes form. The volunteers and the church picks up furniture from donors and may even deliver items to families or individuals in need.

There may also be bed and cribs giving in some cases. This can help new, single moms in the area that need items for a newborn. Or beds can be given to formerly homeless or even people that are currently sleeping on the floor. Find more information on free cribs for new babies.

A food pantry is also available in Lansing Michigan from one of the many local churches. There is assistance be appointment only. Any low income family needs to call for an appointment. Free groceries, fruits, baby formula and other food may be picked up at most once per month.

Clients can also use the Food Bank at local charities that partner with the churches. This location, and partner churches in Eaton and Ingham County, may have free vegetables, fresh fruits, meats and dairy to families. The items are generally offered for those in the Quality Living Budgeting program. In addition, they need to be referred to the pantry by the referral line noted below as well as their budget counselor.




Christmas and holiday programs, including for Thanksgiving and other events, is available from local churches. They will generally provide thousands of food and gift baskets per year in the region, including Ingham County. Most of this assistance is for children as well as the elderly.

Many volunteers and local churches partner with the agency on offering this service. There may even be small toys and gifts for children, including Adopt a Family and other resources. There may also be birthday gifts offered for children.

The Christmas Share Store from a local church is for clients of the Quality Living Budgeting Class. They may have access to free books, toys, games and gifts for teens. So kids will have a present to open under the tree, and also be able to experience some holiday joy. This is but one example of a service that a caller can be referred to.

Referrals are offered from the Clearinghouse referral line as well. They offer intake and linkage to a vast network of both private and public organizations in the greater Lansing region. Or they may recommend government aid, such as food stamps or low income, public housing options.

The clothing ministry is located at a church. There is also a so called Small Children’s Closet. The centers will have back to school clothing, including for children under the age of 4 or teens. Some of the other resources are known as Clothe-A-Child-For-School. In some cases, the church affiliated charities may also have children's furniture, such as playpens, strollers, and related items.

Many of the local clothing closets also have free work attire. Anyone looking to re-enter the workforce, or maybe they need new items for a better job, is often assisted. Churches also can provide referrals to programs such as Dress for Success and many others.





Additional gently used clothing programs include hats or winter mittens. Churches, non-profits and individuals buy or hand knit hats or mittens for pre-school children.  These are usually given to children in the local Lansing Head Start program.

Free Backpacks will be donated as well. They will have school supplies (scissors, notebook, markers, sharpener, pencils, ruler, glue stick, etc). Parents from low income families who need backpacks for their children contact the church for any available items.

Infants and Toddlers from low income or struggling families may benefit from the Crib Ministry or by receiving free diapers or formula. As part of the application process, a home visit needs to take place from a Public Health Nurse, church member, or another charity. The diapers are available as supplies last at some local churches. Due to demand, they may go quickly. The centers may have cribs, free formula, diapers, and other baby supplies.

In some cases, car seats are given out too. These will be for very low income parents that pass all of the screening processes in place. There will also be classes held on how to install the seat, and the parent will need to attend.

Free vouchers for a layette are available at a church. They will usually contain an undershirt, sleeper, socks, and a book for a new born or single parent. The program is run by social workers from Sparrow and Ingham hospitals or clinics.




In some cases, there is transportation assistance given out. This may include a free car (which is rare) or a ride to a job interview in Ingham County. The service is for people in the Lansing region that have a job. Donations from the community are used to help people purchase vehicles. Other network churches provide car repair assistance, parts, access to mechanics, repair assessments, and maybe even free oil changes.

For more information on referrals to non-profit programs in the area, call 866-561-2500. This number will offer referrals to a number of services available in the Lansing Michigan area. All requests need to go through the call center.

By Jon McNamara

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