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Two Years Later …

Two years ago at this time HDC was dealing with—and still reeling from—the sudden closing of Kandu Industries as well as substantial and nearly simultaneous reductions to programming and services for the men and women living at My Brother’s and Sister’s Houses (MB/SH). As a result of these sudden and unexpected changes, most of the 30 residents of MB/SH would be home 2-3 days a week while several would be home 4-5 days—based on individual differences from a new assessment measuring need for support.

Having residents at home during the day on weekdays meant that we now needed to provide daytime staffingrequired by State licensing—at each of our five homes for the first time in the history of MB/SH. This change not only stretched our existing staff while we worked to recruit, hire and train additional staff, it also resulted in significantly increasing our payroll and related personnel expenses.

These challenges were unlike any we had faced before. At the time, we wondered how or if our homes would survive. We could not see a way forward. However, by faith, we believed that God could and would make a way … and God did.

Today, I am grateful to report that most of the 30 men and women from MB/SH are now employed and working in the community. In addition to the benefit of earning a paycheck—typically considerably larger than what they previously earned—they also gain self-confidence and demonstrate to others their ability to be capable, productive, and dependable employees. Consider the following examples.

Kelly works at Providence Life Services in Zeeland and shared this: “I love when I get to talk or see residents at work and it feels good to know I’m helping others out.”

Andrew works 20 hours a week at the Good Earth Café in downtown Holland. He began working as a dishwasher and now, because of his work and potential, they are training him to make sandwiches.

Although most MB/SH residents now have jobs—all of which are part-time—and many also participate in occasional community activities and limited day programs, each of our five homes still has residents at home at least 2-3 days (M-F). Because of this, the need daytime staffing coverage will continue and, consequently, so will our need for generous and additional contributions from friends like yourself.

Unlike many other group homes and organizations that receive a significant amount of government funding for the services they provide, HDC depends to a large extent on private contributionsprimarily from individuals, churches, and businesses. As a result, in 2017 that means we need to receive approximately $200,000 in private contributions—the largest amount from individuals—to support MB/SH and the work HDC does with churches and in the community (see our brochure HERE  for more info). We will need to receive most of these contributions in the remaining weeks of 2017!

So, please consider what you can give to help the work and ministries of the Holland Deacons’ Conference continue. You can make a secure online donation right now by clicking here or mail a check to the Holland Deacons’ Conference at 224 W 30th St., Holland, Michigan 49423.  Thank you for time and consideration!                                                                                                                                                                                 
Grace and peace,

                     Jack Kooyman, Executive Director