November 7, 2009

RiverTown Food Drive

Wow!  What a DAY yesterday.  RiverTown Crossings Mall partnered with ACCESS for their 10th Anniversary celebration and turned it into a food drive.  When we got there, people were lined up all throughout the food court - some waited nearly 3 hours to turn in their food and get their $20 gift card.  I don't know what we expected, but we definitely didn't expect this kind of turn out!  We worked our tails off all day to collect and package the food and ended up with an amazing 7 TONS of food!! WOW!  Thanks everyone!!  I am pretty sore today from all the heavy lifting, but it was such a fun event.  I always love to see people come together with their families and their community to do good.  Something about the collaborative effort and community involvement just makes Grand Rapids such an amazing place to be.  Enjoy some of the pics from the day!

November 5, 2009

Those Eighty Acres... and so on.

I just gotta say that I am thrilled for Jordan's new band - Nate Scott & Those Eighty Acres.  These guys have been playing together for about 6 or 8 (or more?) months and are going to be releasing their first CD very shortly!  It is called "1905" and it is seriously one that you can listen to straight through.  It has been in my CD player all week and I love it.  SO - here is my little plug for their album.  I think you should give it a listen to when it is released in a few weeks.  Not to mention some pretty awesome guys in the band. :-)

 Some more updates...

 Work is crazy busy right now.  We are in the midst of our busiest "need" season at the pantries, etc... along with our busiest "we need help" season.  I have fundraiser events and appeal letters coming out my ears right now.  I can't wait til January when we can look back and see that everyone was fed and that once again, God was good and provided for us financially.  Until then, we'll all be working our tails off.  The break between Christmas and New Years will be much needed!!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Jordan and I are planning on going down to Tennessee with the rest of the family to see Ben and Krista!  We haven't seen them since July and I am VERY excited to spend some time with them.  We had gotten used to having Ben around and I always miss my sister when she is gone... so it will be a great week of catching up and creating memories!  I am excited to get out and do some hiking (maybe shopping?) as well!!

For the past year and a half Jordan and I have been what I call "church homeless".  We have been searching for a home church where we can really sink our roots into and it has not been an easy search.  I just feel like where you go to church is such a personal decision, and at the same time you want to leave yourself open to God's leading.  Jordan and I visited many churches and spent significant time at a few.  There were some where I felt like I could be happy there, but Jordan wasn't ready to settle and vice-versa.  We needed to find a place where we both felt at home and felt like God could challenge us and use us.  Well... after many many many months of searching, Jordan and I have landed at Crossroads Bible Church.  We have been going there for a couple of months and we both love it.  We feel challenged every week by the message Rod brings and just love the embracing community there.  We have recently gotten connected with their music team and start our first bible study there on Sunday!  It is hard to be new at a church regardless of how much you like it.  I am really excited to start meeting people and build relationships with others who go there.  We both feel very good about this decision and can't wait to see how God uses us and this church.

A delayed "thank you".

A couple of months ago I talked about how I was nominated to be the Young Non Profit Professional of the Year.  Well... I am a little late in reporting this, but the awards ceremony was on October 15.  It was a fun event, with tons of young non profit professionals networking and mingling.  My award was presented last... which meant I had the opportunity to hear about 30 other wonderful young professionals who are dedicating their career to making a difference in the lives of hundreds and thousands of people in our community.  Sitting there listening to the awards, I was just overwhelmed with how blessed we are to have the ability to serve our country, county, city... and that Grand Rapids is such an amazing collaborative community.  I love it.  As I was listening to these bios of these other awesome young professionals I was thinking there was no way that I would be chosen to win.  These other people had been in the field years longer than I had and seemed to have their hands in so many good things in Grand Rapids.  When it came to present my award, I had pretty much come to the conclusion that I was not going to win... until they said my name.  I was SHOCKED.  I just feel so honored to be chosen for this award, because this is my first year working in a nonprofit and I have been working my tail off, but feel that I have so much yet to learn.  So... I am honored to be considered the Young Nonprofit of the Year!!  I am very excited, but when talking to the rest of the group - could not help but to recognize all of the amazing leaders we have in Grand Rapids.  I truly think it is a fabulous place to live and I think that ACCESS is an amazing place to work.  So - THANK YOU to those of you who believed that I had done enough to deserve this award.  I just hope that it will bring recognition to an organization that is truly seeking to be Gods hands and feet to our community.

As part of the nomination and award process, I was asked to describe why I am passionate about my organization.  I think it is only right for me to share that with you, because I do think that I work for a phenomenal organization with passionate and God-driven people.

Why are you passionate about your cause/organization?

The mission of ACCESS is to provide working solutions to hunger and poverty in Kent County.  ACCESS truly lives out this mission it is a privilege to be a part of their team.  I believe that the work that ACCESS does in Kent County truly makes our community a better place.      The mission of ACCESS is unique and truly valuable in making change happen.  Through our programs basic needs are met, people are fed, and lives are changed.  I think that for many people it is easy to forget that there are people have severe needs in our community, but ACCESS focuses on making sure that a person’s most basic needs are met so that they can live a full life.      ACCESS brings churches, organizations, and individuals together to meet the needs of those in Kent County in a profound way.  ACCESS knows that with a strong network, it is possible to meet needs so that NO ONE goes hungry in Kent County.  I truly believe this is possible!  ACCESS does this by educating people on the realities of poverty and teaching them how to respond through our Poverty Education Initiative.  I believe that the more people that collaborate in this initiative, the larger impact we can make in our community.  I think that Grand Rapids has an outstanding level of passion and collaboration for this cause and I love that my job involves inviting people to take part in what we are doing.    I am passionate about the work I do, because I know I am part of something that is greater than myself.  ACCESS is a faith-based organization, and the ACCESS staff believe that our work is called for by God.  I am partnered with an organization that sees need and finds ways to respond in faith.  Nothing excites me more than introducing a new person to the mission of ACCESS and seeing their eyes light up as they see the role they can play through collaboration to make a difference.  I believe that everyone has the ability to significantly influence the life of another.  I am honored to have a role where I can help provide opportunities for people to change our community.