Summer Updates from Southwest Michigan
Corps across the Western Michigan and Northern Indiana Division are committed to serving their communities year-round. In a five-part summer series, we’ll be bringing to light some of the ways in which corps are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and meeting human needs in His name without discrimination. This week, the southwestern Michigan corps of Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, Niles and Sturgis are featured.\
The Salvation Army of Battle Creek,
serving Barry and Calhoun Counties
- Behind Majors Kevin and Christie Van Zee, The Salvation Army of Battle Creek continues to provide basic and critical needs to the community through social services, food distribution and Sally’s Kitchen.
- Sally’s Kitchen, which is the free meal program, has returned to serving meals in the dining room only as of July 1. In addition to food, joining others in the dining room encourages social interactions. From January to May this year, when meals were also offered in a to-go fashion, the corps has served 10,599 meals through Sally’s Kitchen.
- The food pantry supplies fresh produce and bakery goods to anyone who comes in. From January to May 2021, the corps has distributed 106,286 pounds of fresh produce. The social services staff assists serving meat and canned goods from the pantry to individuals who need it most.
- Rent and utility assistance are being provided to individuals and families.
- The corps teamed up with a local skate park for Vacation Bible School, which recently concluded. The skate park supplied jumps and equipment for the campers. Campers also enjoyed crafts and had meals provided to them by the corps.
The Salvation Army of Benton Harbor,
serving Van Buren County and northern Berrien County
- Street construction has been going on throughout the summer in front of the corps building, but that has not stopped Majors David and Marina Womack from continuing to provide regular services for rent, utility and food assistance.
- The shelter offers a safe place to stay for up to 38 homeless men.
- Youth in the corps had the opportunity to recently spend a day at Little Pine Island Camp.
The Salvation Army of Kalamazoo,
serving Kalamazoo County and southeastern Allegan County
- In conjunction with National Salvation Army Week, The Salvation Army of Kalamazoo celebrated their 135th anniversary by passing out donuts and coffee at Bronson Park on May 10.
- For National Donut Day on June 4, over 70 dozen donuts were delivered to first responders, active military and veterans.
- On July 12, the Kalamazoo Corps once again partnered with Jesus Loves Kalamazoo to host an evening of grilling out and fellowship.
- Captains Ronnie and Bridgette Amick joined the corps in July.
- The corps is teaming up with four area Walmart locations to “Stuff the Bus” and collect school supplies from Aug. 6-8. All proceeds will be given to local schools to distribute as needed to students.
- Veterans Stand Down will be held on Sept. 3. The corps hosts this annual event, which is put on by the Kalamazoo Veterans Affairs Office. All veterans are welcome and will be provided with clothing, personal care items, haircuts, and services to assist them if they are having difficulties. The Salvation Army will provide breakfast, lunch, and information regarding programs and services offered.
- During the month of October, more than 30 businesses, schools and organizations will collect winter gear to support the annual Share the Warmth Coat Drive. Over 1,300 coats and winter items will then be distributed to those in need during early November.
The Salvation Army of Niles,
serving Cass County and southern Berrien County
The Salvation Army of Niles’ Feeding His Sheep year-round program is in full effect. Addressing food insecurity for children, this program provides food during the weekends. Each to-go bag contains easy-to-make snacks and healthy foods.
Majors Nic and Jodi Montgomery joined the corps in July.
From Aug. 9-13 and Aug. 16-20, families can visit the corps to pick up a free backpack filled with grade-appropriate school supplies.
The Apple Festival Weekend will be held in Niles Sept. 30-Oct. 3. During the parade, which goes right by the corps, the women’s ministry group will make apple dumplings and other baked goods to sell to support youth programs.
Faith and Family is an upcoming church community event where everyone will come together and share God’s love through games, food and fun.
The Salvation Army of Sturgis,
serving Branch and St. Joseph Counties
- Under the direction of Majors Tim and Sally Sell, who came to Sturgis in early July, the corps continues to offer critical services, including rent and utility assistance.
- Every Monday thru Thursday at 11:30 a.m., the corps serves a hot lunch to anyone who needs it. From March to June, the corps has served 1,531 meals.
- The food pantry is open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- As part of a community-wide effort to address food insecurity, the corps provides a basket with 3-4 days’ worth of food to those who need it most. From Jan. 1 – July 1, 77 families have been provided with a food basket.
- To continue addressing food insecurity, the corps has been a partner with the Meijer Simply Give program since Oct. 2017.
- Vacation Bible School will be held during the first week in August. Up to 15 kids will have the opportunity to experience God and engage in fun activities throughout the week.
- The corps, like they do every year, will be celebrating with the city during Sturgis Fest in August. On Aug. 20, The Salvation Army will participate and have a float in the festival’s popular Night Electric Parade.