There have probably been very few times in the history of the Holland Deacons’ Conference when support from the Christian community has been as important as it is today. Why? Because the changes and challenges experienced by the nearly 30 men and women of My Brother’s and Sister’s Houses (MBSH) over the the past year have resulted in some very real and often troubling uncertainties about their future.
In recent months, adult men and women with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Ottawa County have experienced significant reductions to many of programs and services they had been receiving, participating in, and on which they had come to depend.
At about the same time they were learning about and experiencing these losses, most of our residents–along with hundreds of other adults with developmental disabilities–lost their jobs due to the unexpected and sudden closing of Kandu Industries in September.
As a result of these largely unanticipated and recent changes, most of the nearly 30 men and women living at My Brother’s and Sister’s Houses now need new or additional daytime employment, volunteer opportunities, or any other meaningful daytime activities.
Additionally, not having daytime work or activities presents a special challenge to the operation of My Brother’s and Sister’s Houses (MBSH). Unlike many adult foster care homes, MBSH homes have not had to provide 24/7 on-site staffing. Over the years, the men and women living at MBSH either had daytime jobs of some type or they were engaged in some type of educational or life enhancing daytime activity in the community on weekdays. Consequently, since jobs and daytime programs were reduced or eliminated, HDC has been looking for and attempting to develop new supervised activities outside the home for residents along with adding qualified staff to remain at the homes during the day.
In addition to these more recent changes, HDC also experienced unanticipated and substantial reductions in government food assistance for nearly all MBSH residents. These reductions have also resulted in increased food and grocery expenses for MBSH.
Although these challenges are difficult and painful for those directly impacted by them, they also provide the Christian community with new opportunities to become more involved and help make a positive difference in lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ with developmental disabilities. With that in mind, please prayerfully consider whether you, your church, business, or organization might be able to help us meet these challenges by becoming involved in one or more of the following ways:
Provide transportation to and from . . .
- job sites or programs one or more times a week
- doctor, dentist, or other appointments
If you are a business owner or employer and have an employment opportunity or need, please consider hiring one of our residents.
Does your church, school, or organization need or provide opportunities for volunteers. Most of our residents enjoy and are very capable of serving in a variety of ways.
We are preparing to provide some of our own meaningful activities and programs during the day M-F. Does your church have space that we could use for various types of learning and recreational activities?
- If you are a deacon or other ministry leader consider scheduling an offering in the near future. If your church already supports the HDC consider increasing the number of offerings in support of our homes and ministry with adults with developmental disabilities.
- Consider viewing or sharing the video of My Brother’s and Sister’s Houses ministry–located at the bottom of this post–to see and hear what God is doing.
- As an individual or family, consider making a personal contribution to the Holland Deacons’ Conference, 272 E 26th St, Holland, MI 49423. You can also make a secure online contribution on the HDC website at hdccrc.org and click on the word “DONATE” at the top of the page.
Most importantly, please remember the men, women, and staff of My Brother’s and Sister’s Houses in your prayers!
For more information call the HDC office at (494) 6050 or email us at email@example.com