Homelessness is a growing and harsh reality for many people in our local community. It can feel even worse during the holidays, when family and friends gather together at warm and friendly homes. Join us this holiday season as we seek to provide time, materials, and some hope to neighbors nearby. With joy and thankfulness for our own homes and family, let’s bring that sense of “home” to those who need it most.

Did you know?

  • Last year, 3300 kids in Kent and Ottawa County from K-12th grade experienced homelessness at one point.
  • Jenison Public Schools alone anticipates serving 50 families who are experiencing homelessness this year.  
  • A one-time gift of $500 or less is usually all it takes for an at-risk family to avert homelessness.  
  • Mel Trotter and Degage Ministries have been long-standing advocates and providers in the Heartside district. Last year alone, over 4200 individuals came to Mel Trotter for help.


Jenison Public Schools: We are working with JPS to support school-age students and their families who are experiencing or at significant risk of homelessness. From clothing to basic supplies, to special surprises for Christmas, sign up here. Then bring your unwrapped items to the Welcome Center on Dec 2 + 9. [Note: Please label your gifts with the Family Number [provided], and the name of recipient.]

Mel Trotter + Degage Ministries are partnering together in the Heartside neighborhood of downtown GR to host the annual Christmas Store. This store is for families and individuals experiencing homelessness, providing participants the opportunity to purchase gifts for their loved ones in a dignified and accessible way. To donate items to the store, visit meltrotter.org/amazon and start shopping. Your gift will be shipped directly to Mel Trotter Ministries. Please order by December 10.


Mel Trotter + Degage Christmas Store help is needed on Dec 18 and 19 to make this annual event a success—from personal shoppers to gift wrappers. Help is also needed with the Christmas Lunch for the residents of Mel Trotter Ministries on Dec. 21. To sign-up or learn more, visit meltrotter.org/givehelp/volunteer.