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  • Writer's pictureJared Cramer

Local church increasing available assistance during shutdown

Below is an article from the January 17, 2019, edition of the Grand Haven Tribune that mentioned the ministry of our church.

St. John’s Episcopal Church has several ministries that seek to assist those who are struggling financially. In the wake of the current federal government shutdown, the Grand Haven church has increased the amount of aid it has available.

“We know that federal employees are prohibited from accepting gifts, outside of certain exemptions, and that limits the availability of many organizations to help,” said the Rev. Dr. Jared Cramer, the rector of the parish. “Dave Karpin from the Chief Petty Officers Association is doing great work, being the best way to get donations directly to affected Coast Guard personnel. But that still leaves other federal employees in the area in a difficult situation, unsure of when they will receive their next paycheck.”

Cramer explained that St. John’s Episcopal Church has three ministries that are open to anyone in need of help — and because they don’t ask for ID and don’t limit their assistance to Coast Guard personnel or other federal employees, anyone who is struggling is always welcome to come and get assistance.

On Sundays from 1-2 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m., there is a free hot meal available to anyone who is hungry called Loving Spoonfuls.

During the week, the Parish Office is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Office staff can give people assistance through the Food and Staples Pantry — not only helping with food needs, but with toiletries and infant supplies.

“There are also limited funds available in my discretionary account that can help people with utility bills,” Cramer said.

When the shutdown passed the mark of the longest ever, the congregation organized a special drive to stock up their pantry even more aggressively and also to put added funds into the discretionary account to help those in need.

“No matter who you are, if you are having difficulties because of this shutdown — or for any other life circumstance — our congregation’s free meals, food pantry and discretionary account are here to show you God’s love in a tangible form,” Cramer said.

Donations to the parish meal ministry (which for several years has fed 30-50 people twice a week), the Food and Staples Pantry or the discretionary account are always welcome. Indicate “Loving Spoonfuls,” “Food Pantry” or “Discretionary Fund” on any check made out to St. John’s Episcopal Church.

Volunteers to help serve the meals on Sundays and Wednesdays are also always needed. Contact the parish administrator at 616-842-6260 or for more information.

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