A Spirit of Community – A Reflection

Mary Clark-Kaiser, a monthly supporter of Access, shares a reflection on her and her husband’s support of our work and mission below. Our work is possible because of our partnerships, and we are grateful for those who decide to partner with us through financial support. 

Over 10 years ago I was invited to serve on the Access Board. At that time Access was renting space at First United Methodist Church downtown. I loved being on the Board and later served as both Vice-President and President of the Board. Ever since I first starting serving on the Board, I have been impressed with the collaborative spirit of the organization as well as its faith based roots. This organization reaches out to build relationships and systems with other folks, agencies, and organizations who are also committed to cultivating solutions to poverty. They do not attempt to solve problems on their own but realize that it takes many hands and many perspectives to try to eliminate hunger and poverty. This spirit of community takes a certain amount of humility because it consists of trusting and relying on all of their partners. 

They offer training and casework services to churches but trust that the church itself will be able to realize their own methods of walking with those who come to them in need. 

In terms of the pantry system it is wonderful to see how the pantries have developed over the years focusing more and more on healthy food for folks and respecting the particular food needs of each family or individual. The Farm Markets at the pantries are just an example. 

When I first attended a Poverty Education session I was so overwhelmed with my role and the challenges that the role presented me with. I remember at the end I was even motivated to steal. I was quite shocked by my reaction and it raised my empathy all the more. The sharing by the staff of the Poverty Education program at the end of the session was so heartfelt and powerful. 

So, as you can see I am quite committed to Access. I love their passion to work collaboratively with partners on solutions to hunger and poverty in our community. The staff is passionate about social justice, respect for all of our brothers and sisters and working tirelessly as collaborators for a community with workable solutions for hunger and poverty. 

My husband and I are glad to be monthly donors for this agency which is so important to us. If lots of folks, who see the good work that Access does, gives something each month think of how this will impact the good work that Access does.

If you would like to partner with Access financially, you can make a one-time or monthly gift online. You’re also welcome to send a contribution to Access of West Michigan, 1700 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508. If you have any questions about giving, please connect with Alaina Dobkowski at alaina@accessofwestmichigan.og or 616-747-0988. 

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