Grand Rapids Refugee Food Drive

June 3, 2020
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The Michigan Conference Office family helped feed 420 Rwandan and Burmese refugees in Grand Rapids on May 24, 2020. The director of Michigan Conference Multi-Ethnic Ministries, Bob Stewart, informed the Conference ACS director, Chelli Ringstaff, that there is a need for food in the Grand Rapids refugee communities. There was no question in her mind about what she should do; she knew she had to help. Bob started organizing with the local pastors on the numbers that needed to be fed, while Chelli was figuring out how to get the three items that they really would like – rice, beans, and sweet potatoes. “It seemed that it was nearly impossible to get large quantities of anything. I just kept hitting wall after wall. Not knowing what to do, I took a walk with the Lord and asked for His guidance on what I should do, then the thought came to my mind – ASK THE OFFICE,” said Chelli. So, she ran home and sent out an email to the office and within an hour she had 1,000 pounds of dried beans, 880 pounds of sweet potatoes, monetary donations, and volunteers to buy and pick up the food! They even had a driver! The Conference ACS associate director, Terry Dodge, stepped up and was willing to drive the trailer of food to the two locations.

On the day of the distribution, officers of the Michigan Conference and their families had set up stations at both locations, ready to serve! Those who served were Jim & Gail Micheff; Mike and Cheryl Bernard with their sons, Aaron, Ben, and Caleb; Pastor Bernard; Pastor Cin; and Chelli and her family Justin, Elijah, Emma, and Enoch. At the second site were Royce and Laurie; Wes; Marion; Levi and Liana; and Bob Stewart. They were able to give away 1,800 pounds of dry beans, 1,600 pounds of rice, 2,800 pounds of sweet potatoes, and lots of boxes of bananas donated by Bob Stewart. They served a total of 420 individuals; around 106 families. “This whole project was blessed and led by the Holy Spirit and the generosity and love of those in the office and the ACS leaders of the NAD,” stated Chelli.