Kent County Annual Report 2020
Dear friends and neighbors,
I’m hard-pressed to discover an adjective to explain the past year that hasn’t already been used. Many of the descriptions you can think of have been the reality for The Salvation Army of Kent County. We have experienced the pandemic up close through our commitment to the Kent County community. We’ve seen intimately how COVID-19 has impacted those in our area. From the stay-at-home order to the gradual reopening, we’ve been there since before day one and, God willing alongside your support, we’ll remain there.
As you’ll read in this report, while most of our programs had to significantly modify operations, we continued to safely serve those who needed it most and uphold our promise of Doing the Most Good. We opened a COVID-19 hotline for those struggling with the mental, emotional or spiritual element of the pandemic to lend a caring ear and an avenue to resources. Our Emergency Disaster Services team aided in serving meals to thousands and our Eviction Diversion Program helped keep families in their homes. Our Corps Community Centers provided vital emotional, spiritual and physical support to those they serve on a daily basis.
We’re thankful for those who stood by us as we provided service at a level previously unseen in Kent County. You helped us Rescue Christmas for double the amount of families as we typically expect. Thanks to the incredible generosity and compassion shown by friends like you, we have continued to meet the increased and emerging needs in His name without discrimination. We anticipate the aftereffects of the pandemic will linger and the need will remain high for the foreseeable future.
Thank you for taking the time to review this report. But more importantly, thank you for your prayers and continued support of The Salvation Army, our mission and our promise of Doing the Most Good.
Major Glen Caddy
2020 Programs & Services
Emergency disaster services
When a disaster strikes suddenly and or catastrophically, victims rely on us to provide trained and certified help, care and hope when there seems to be none. The Salvation Army operated a donations management center for COVID-19 relief, collecting and distributing about 15,000 items of personal protective equipment for the Kent County Sheriff’s Office in March and April. We provided food service for COVID-19 homeless shelter operations in conjunction with Kent County Emergency Management. Three hundred cots, blankets and pillows were provided for acute care sites and emergency shelter operations for the homeless. In alliance with the Kent County Emergency Needs Task Force, 2,080 food boxes, 12,000 bulk bottles of water, 12,312 bulk gallons of water and 2,000 hygiene kits were collected and distributed to over a dozen pantries in the county. Through our Emotional and Spiritual Care Hotline, which we introduced in April to offer a reassuring voice to those struggling with pandemic-related stress, we made 6,216 contacts while dedicating 5,389 hours. Last year, our Emergency Disaster Services team provided individual servings of 13,968 meals, 30,426 drinks and 10,306 snacks. A total of 15,489 individuals were served with 16,020 volunteer hours.
Little Pine Island Camp and Retreat Center
Camping at Little Pine Island focuses on having fun in God’s creation and teaching practical skills while striving to meet each camper’s physical, social and spiritual needs. However, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the shape of services delivered in 2020. Little Pine Island Camp became a community provider for meals to the homeless and COVID-19-positive individuals in Kent County, serving thousands of meals delivered through Emergency Disaster Service volunteers from mid-April to mid-June. The site partnered with Kent County Emergency Management and was prepared to provide housing and medical service if the need arose. The camp experience took a dramatic turn from residential on-site programs to bringing camp to the camper. Little Pine Island Camp served as a staging site for a summer ministry team that visited 15 different communities in the division and touched the lives of 321 youth while Doing the Most Good within existing conditions.
Adult rehabilitation center
The Adult Rehabilitation Center 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. For two and a half months during the onset of COVID-19, the center was unable to take in new residents. During the remainder of the year, the center operated at 50% capacity to mitigate risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, 198 individuals received help toward a new start in their time of need.
Fulton Heights Corps Community Center
A place of refuge for people of all ages, our center provides spiritual guidance, community and activities. We offer a licensed after-school program, a summer day camp and a vibrant senior program. All our programs were modified last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For our seniors, we offered interactive livestreamed activities instead of in-person social events and served a total of 6,407 meals, many of which came in the form of a drive-thru to replace our typical sit-down affairs. In collaboration with Grand Rapids Public Schools, we provided a daily e-learning site for school children and offered after-school care for families. We livestreamed our Sunday church services, allowing individuals to worship in the safety of their own homes. Last year, we served 3,075 kids and over 10,000 seniors in our programs.
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. Its 20-acre campus and 105,000 square-foot center have something for everyone, including fitness and aquatics facilities, a two-court gymnasium, Worship and Performing Arts Center, outdoor recreation areas, and much more. After reaching a record high of more than 8,000 members in early 2020, COVID-19 restrictions forced the Kroc Center to close for six months. Continuing to serve despite being closed, the Kroc Center served 33,624 sack lunches as well as 391 boxes of groceries last year. The Kroc Center offered over 850 virtual activities to members and distributed 332 toys and activities to kids stuck at home during the summer. Our staff reached out via phone call to over 3,500 members and seniors to check in and provide spiritual care. Reopened in September, the Kroc continued to gradually resume activities and services with an extra focus on safety, cleanliness, and personalized service.
Turning Point Programs
A licensed and accredited specialized treatment center with a focus on treating alcohol, prescription or illicit drug misuse and co-occurring disorders, Turning Point Programs provide medically monitored withdrawal management and short-term residential treatment to those struggling with mild, moderate or severe drug or alcohol use disorders. Program participants work with state-licensed medical and clinical professionals to assess personal needs and discuss individualized treatment plans. Turning Point continued to serve safely at a reduced capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic and in 2020 helped 991 individuals begin a journey free of addiction and build the foundation for a life of recovery.
Kent County Social Services
Individuals and families in need of utility assistance are screened for eligibility requirements and connected with a case worker to problem-solve the need. Assistance and case management is available to qualifying households with a utility past-due notice or a utility shutoff due to an inability to pay. Addressing this crisis prevents evictions, loss of housing and improves overall health and stability. Last year, extensive state-wide moratoriums on utility shutoffs extended through most of the spring and summer. In 2020, 1,106 Kent County households received emergency energy assistance from The Salvation Army.
Emergency Food Assistance
We aid families and individuals who have an emergency need for food items. Each person meets with an essential services coordinator and receives tangible food items to last for several days, external service referrals and information about other supportive services provided by The Salvation Army. Last year, significant outside resources were made available through COVID-19 relief efforts to those facing hunger in Kent County, including generous donations to neighborhood pantries and the maximum benefit from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Food Assistance Program being awarded to eligible families. In 2020, 1,482 households received emergency food assistance through our pantry.
Pathway of Hope
Our Pathway of Hope Program is a nationally recognized, comprehensive, and strengths-based case management model used to support families. To break the cycle of generational poverty, POH case workers assist families with young children in the home to set and achieve goals, leverage available community resources, and achieve self-sufficiency. Last year, we enrolled 10 families in the program and established a comprehensive support network to build a strong future for program graduates.
In Kent County, we work with a variety of community agencies to develop a coordinated entry point for people experiencing homelessness. We provide this entry point so that families and individuals can be connected to housing resources and support services available internally and in the community to help end or prevent homelessness. Our Eviction Diversion Program in partnership with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority helped keep 820 families safe in their homes through the end of the year. In total during 2020, we provided 8,864 individuals with housing information and referrals, and directly managed cases for 4,364 individuals to maintain or obtain housing.