2021 Kent County Annual Report

Apr 4, 2022


The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination. 

Letter from Divisional Commander Major Glen Caddy

Dear friends and neighbors,

When I sat down to write this letter last year, I was prayerful that the level of distress I saw in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic would be alleviated in 2021. While many of us did return to some sense of normalcy in 2021, thousands of our neighbors were still navigating the impacts of the pandemic. Many are in "pandemic poverty," which we define as individuals who were moving along in life until the pandemic disrupted their employment or living arrangements. 

I am grateful for how Kent County residents compassionately continued to do their part in helping us ease the burdens facing so many. Your gracious support -- whether it was by prayer or through a gift of money or time -- brought hope to our hardworking neighbors as they got back on their feet. 

As you will reach in this report, our programs were safely able to return to a semblance of what they were before the pandemic. Our social services team greeted individuals for in-person case consultations, and our corps community centers welcomed back members for socialization and activities. 

Our programs and services continued to meet the need, wherever it was. By providing case management services for the state-funded Coronavirus Emergency Relief Assistance grant, we helped over 5,000 households keep a roof overhead. Close to 4,000 children had their Christmas morning brightened with a gift from the Angel Tree Toy Drive. 

Thank you for taking the time to review this report. I am deeply appreciative of your continued support of The Salvation Army and our mission of meeting human needs in Christ's name without discrimination. Eighty-six cents of every dollar donated in Kent County goes directly back into supporting our local services. 

In my 43 years with The Salvation Army serving across the Midwest, I am always humbled by how communities come alongside their neighbors in need, no matter the circumstance. September 1 will mark the beginning of my retirement, although we will leave the area at the end of June to make way for new leadership. It has been my privilege to serve the Grand Rapids area on your behalf over the last seven years and I pray that God will continue to bless you and West Michigan. 


Major Glen Caddy
Divisional Commander

Kent County Social Services

As the pandemic continued to impact Kent County residents last year, many neighborhood pantries, company subsidies and state-backed programs had increased resources available through COVID-19 relief efforts. 

Emergency Food Assistance

The Salvation Army operates as the emergency food bank for Kent County. Serving five days a week, the food pantry is committed to securing as many fresh and healthy items as possible to provide well-balanced orders of groceries. No matter the household size, every grocery order includes food for about three days. 

1,115 households received physical nourishment from our pantry. 

Energy Assistance Services

Energy Assistance Services (EAS) seeks to walk alongside households in need to address energy crises. The Salvation Army offers assistance to qualifying households with a past-due notice or utility shutoff due to an inability to pay. During this process, an applicant may be offered bill payment assistance, energy company subsidy program enrollment and case management services. In most situations, an EAS case specialist will meet with the household one-on-one to determine eligibility and to assess the need or opportunity for additional support. Addressing energy crises can help prevent eviction and improve a home's stability. 

The Salvation Army helped keep the lights on in 944 households. 

Pathway of Hope

Pathway of Hope is a free, goal-setting partnership that helps families with children increase self-sufficiency and combat generational poverty. This is more than emergency assistance and The Salvation Army seeks to walk alongside families in their life journey. 

All families need to be eligible is at least one child under the age of 18 that is living in the house and the motivation to achieve their personal goals. Families determine their future and goals, while The Salvation Army helps orchestrate action steps that lead to goal achievement. Goals can be anything, but examples include parents striving to continue their education, improve their employment status, or achieve greater financial freedom. Families commit to voluntarily meet with a Salvation Army caseworker 2-3 times a month for 6-12 months, depending on what the family wants to achieve. Every quarter, the caseworker and family reevaluate their goals to celebrate the progress made. The Salvation Army journeys alongside families, encouraging them toward their goals, and being a navigation source to help them connect the dots. 

In 2021, two families graduated from Pathway of Hope and 15 more families were welcomed into the program. 

"Whatever my families want to work on is what we work on. Each week, they'll take something to do to work toward their goal and I'll take something to help them. A lot of the families in the program say they like the accountability, it helps keep them on track to work toward their goals." - Kacey, Pathway of Hope case manager

Housing Services

Working alongside several community agencies to help end or prevent homelessness, The Salvation Army is the coordinated entry point for people experiencing homelessness in Kent County. This entry point is provided to streamline the process and help households get connected directly with the resources they need. 

Our Housing Assessment Program is a community-driven resource that is rooted in a housing-first, strength-based approach. Participants are screened and assessed for referral to a housing resource that best matches household need, eligibility and choice. 

We provided 5,643 individuals with housing information and referrals, and directly managed cases for 2,240 individuals to obtain or maintain housing. 

The Salvation Army operates Rapid Re-Housing and Eviction Prevention Programs. Both programs provide direct financial assistance and case management to individuals experiencing homelessness or who are at risk. 

587 households received direct help through our Eviction Prevention Program and 444 households benefited from our Rapid Re-Housing Program. 

Throughout 2021, The Salvation Army provided case management services for the Michigan state-funded Coronavirus Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) program in Grand Rapids. 

Our dedicated CERA team supplied assistance to 5,219 households with an average of $5,678 in rent assistance being provided per household. 

Christmas Assistance

One of the many programs The Salvation Army offers to the community, and perhaps the most well-known, is Christmas assistance. In Kent County, Christmas assistance includes families receiving new unwrapped toys that were collected from the Angel Tree Toy Drive and grocery store gift cards to help make Christmas dinner special. 2021 marked the 31st year of partnership between The Salvation Army and WOOD TV8 for the Angel Tree Toy Drive. 

1,448 households and 6,446 individuals had their Christmas season brightened. 3,957 children were able to experience the magic of Christmas by having gifts to open as 15,748 toys were distributed. 

955 teens were given gift cards to shop for what they want at area stores. 

Families received a combined $94,520 worth of food gift cards to supplement their holiday grocery shopping. 

Fulton Heights Corps Community Center

A place of refuge for people of all ages, our center provides spiritual guidance, community and activities. 

The popular and well-attended Senior Program meets every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Supported by the Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan and the Kent County Senior Millage, the program offers a diverse assortment of life-enriching activities including a variety of exercise and educational classes, Bible studies, walking in the gym, stimulating brain games, card games, bingo, speakers and musical entertainment. A hot, fresh and healthy meal is served for lunch. Seniors are also given the opportunity to hand-select pantry items to take home. 

We served a total of 10,824 meals to 232 seniors. 

In partnership with several neighborhood schools, our GROW program offers after-school care for children in grades K-6. Different activities are organized for each day with the focus being on learning and having fun. During the summer months, local children aged 5-12 are welcomed to our Summer Day Camp program. 

3,800 children were a part of our programs. 

A new floor was installed in the gymnasium toward the end of 2021. 

Throughout the year, we offered in-person and livestreamed church services, in addition to continuing to provide Bible study classes and ministry to Turning Point and Adult Rehabilitation Center participants. 

"We continue marching forward in our work to build the kingdom of God through helping as many people as possible. No matter what age, there is something very special here for everyone." - Auxiliary Captain Grace Roinila

Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center

The purpose of the Kroc Center is to share the love of Jesus Christ by providing life-changing experiences. The Kroc's 20-acre campus and 105,000 square-foot center, located within the city of Grand Rapids, have something for everyone including fitness and aquatics facilities, a two-court gymnasium, Worship and Performing Arts Center, outdoor recreation areas, fine arts, music, educational opportunities and much more. It's a place where people of all ages have opportunities to learn and grow, to build dreams and friendships, and to find hope in a safe, warm and welcoming environment.

After the COVID-19 pandemic closed the facility for six months in 2020, the Kroc Center's focus for 2021 was gradually bringing back programs and activities as state and local health restrictions were rolled back. 

Over the course of the year, the number of households with paid memberships grew by 48%, and average daily usage by members grew more than 110% between January and December. 

The Kroc Center returned to regularly serving between 300-500 people each day.

Camp Kroc, a summer day camp for kids, returned in 2021 and saw more than 500 registrations over 10 weeks of programming. 

To help our members reach their health and wellness goals, 14 state-of-the-art Technogym machines were added to the fitness center. When these are combined with the myKroc Wellness app, members have access to a full-cycle wellness program that is customized to their needs. 

Kroc Church offered in-person and livestreamed Sunday services and ministry groups for men and women. 

Little Pine Island Camp and Retreat Center

Our camps at Little Pine Island focus on having fun in God's creation, building confidence, strengthening social responsibility and shaping spiritual development. 2020 and 2021 presented unique challenges for Little Pine Island, similar to many other camps that operated during the pandemic. In 2021, camping returned to Little Pine Island, but in a much different fashion than usual. Six weeks of youth day camps were provided to the Western Michigan and Northern Indiana Division service area at large. Community cohorts around the division visited once per week during that span. During their time at Little Pine Island, campers participated in waterfront activities, a challenge course, team-building exercises, target sports, crafts and spiritual formation, and enjoyed a hearty meal. The Salvation Army developed a new partnership with Kids' Food Basket, which supplied snack bags for each camper's trip home. Enjoying a day in nature and out of the house offered a mental health boost to many during times of isolation. The 2021 camping season focused on sharing hope and keeping connected during difficult times. In addition to summer campers, Little Pine Island hosted more than 30 individuals from the music conservatory program, which provided concentrated musical and spiritual instruction in performance and leadership. 

Adult Rehabilitation Center

The Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) offers a long-term, faith-based residential program. It is dedicated to helping individuals who find themselves in crisis and whose lives have become unmanageable due to substance use disorders. The physical and spiritual care that individuals receive prepares them to re-enter society and return to gainful employment. Every potential participant undergoes an intake interview to ensure the ARC is the best possible match. A long-term commitment of at least six months is required so that positive life choices can begin to become a pattern. There is no cost involved for program participants. The main funding for the program comes from The Salvation Army Family Stores, where gently used clothes and household items are donated by the community. 

Due to the pandemic, the ARC limited capacity during part of 2021. 101 individuals received help toward a new start in their time of need. 

Turning Point Programs

Accredited by the Joint Commission and medically licensed, Turning Point Programs offers detoxification, short-term residential and outpatient programs to individuals struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder. Turning Point uses a holistic and individual counseling approach to treat each patient's mind, body, spirit and health, while providing a safe and welcoming environment that promotes healing. Turning Point continued to operate safely while taking necessary precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The sub-acute medical detoxification unit provides peer support, therapists and medical care for those who need supervision while withdrawing from alcohol or drugs. Medical staff is available 24/7 and the average length of stay is around five days. 

974 individuals in 2021 were given a safe space to detox and begin their recovery journey. 

Short-term residential is designed to stabilize and treat individuals who have a substance use disorder or need a co-occurring capable service. This program offers a seven-day-per-week clinical treatment regimen. The length of stay ranges from 5-30 days and each treatment plan is individualized. 

438 individuals received the care they needed in short-term residential. 

Outpatient services can include therapy appointments, group sessions, medication-assisted treatment and doctor consultations. This is designed to provide individuals the ability to further develop skills to maintain long-term recovery. 

1,732 individuals continued their recovery journey through outpatient services. 

Turning Point is unique in that it serves anyone and does not discriminate based on a patient's funding source. 

"Our mission is focused on helping anyone, especially those that are in the most need and highest risk. If they want our assistance, we are willing to do whatever it takes to help them." - Jason Boeve, Turning Point Director


Volunteers are our partners in Doing the Most Good and are crucial to The Salvation Army upholding its mission. No matter the time of year, volunteers are the heart of our team and are always needed. Helping with tasks big or small truly makes a difference and helps to change lives. The service and commitment of our volunteers enable The Salvation Army to provide food and necessities to families facing a shortage, reach out to the elderly and those facing hardship in our communities, be a place of love and support for children, make the holidays a time of joy for those in need, and give hope to those facing disaster. 

In 2021, 3,600 volunteers donated a combined 12,736 hours of their time to come alongside our neighbors. 

"The toy shop is like the world to some people, and that's what makes this whole process worthwhile, at least for me. People are here to get a gift for a child that probably wasn't going to get something, and at the end of the day, that's what hits home. This is my way of giving back, and it makes me feel good that I'm able to help out in this situation. I feel that it makes a difference." - Hector, Angel Tree Toy Drive volunteer of over 11 years

Emergency Disaster Services

The Salvation Army is one of the country's largest disaster relief organizations. In times of natural disaster or crisis, The Salvation Army is there to provide support and hope to those who need it. Our mobile kitchen is an efficient way to distribute tangible resources such as food and hydration to victims and first responders. 

Playing a key logistical role, we received and distributed over 6,000 food boxes to various pantries across Kent County last year. 

Through our mobile kitchen, we supported Kent County first responders and emergency management at numerous local fires, search and rescue missions, and shelters. 

720 meals, 2,428 drinks and 5,252 snacks were provided to these essential personnel members. 

Our emergency communications team logged over 1,800 training hours, bettering our ability to function as auxiliary communications for local and state emergency management. 

We supported the health and welfare communications for hurricane relief efforts in 2021, totaling 281 hours. 

Our disaster team supported the community and provided food and hydration service at several events including the Kent County Youth Fair, Kids Day at the Zoo and the 9/11 Community Day of Remembrance, among others. 

The Salvation Army Brass Band

Ministry through music describes the mission behind the brass band in Kent County. With songs based on the gospel, the band shares the love of Christ and opens a door to God to everyone who comes in contact. Comprised of about 30 Salvation Army church members, the band is used in various ensembles to perform around the county throughout the year at corps music programs, divisional music schools, camps, parades and other community outreach events. 

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