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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Does Your Food Pantry Need a Hand? Dancing With the Local Stars Can Help - Britta Cleveland Reports

So exciting to know that this year's DANCING WITH THE LOCAL STARS is already SOLD OUT!.. Knowing that all the funds raised from this years event will go directly to funding our West Michigan food pantries...helping to feed thousands in our area.  I just met with DWTLS Executive Director, Mary Kendall and Matt Kaley, who is the Executive Director of Love Inc. in Muskegon.  Teaming up to help feed residents in need throughout Greater Muskegon, Southern Oceana and North Ottawa Counties.



DANCING WITH THE LOCAL STARS is celebrating its 11th season....every year raising vital funds for West Michigan Food Pantries.    This year hoping to surpass the One Million Dollar mark.   Love Inc. located on East Apple Avenue in Muskegon proudly is the main donation hub for all our Muskegon, Southern Oceana and Northern Ottawa Counties food pantries.  This coming Thursday, February 14 at midnight Love Inc. will no longer accept food pantry donation requests for this years DWTLS donation recipients.
Apply to be a Beneficiary of the WDCC for Your Food Pantry

Please...if your donation facility would like to submit a donation request ...all are required to be sent NO LATER THAN this THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14....by midnight.

The DANCING WITH THE LOCAL STARS is presented by the WOMEN's DIVISION Chamber of Commerce of Muskegon....hoping to raise vital funds for our West Michigan food pantries ....with the help of LOVE INC. Of Muskegon County.    DWTLS will be held Thursday, February 21...Friday, February 22...and two performances on Saturday, February 23......  Thank you again to Mary Kendall and Matt Kaley. ..... Best wishes to all the dancers and supporters of this event....hoping to raise over 1 Million dollars towards feeding our West Michigan residents in need.


2019 DANCING WITH THE LOCAL STARS FOOD PANTRY DONATION REQUESTS:
Deadline:  Thursday, February 14....midnight
Email:   wdccwaysandmeans@yahoo.com



Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Orchard View Elementary Students Get a Hand From Kids Food Basket

Kids Food Basket.  It's next to impossible to believe that in 2019 that we have to rely on a community outreach like Kids Food Basket to help assure that the children of our community are provided the 3 meals a day that are needed for proper nutrition to fuel their young bodies and minds, but the reality is, it takes a village..and it takes an organization like Kids Food Basket to maintain the food, and the awareness about the necessity.



Founded in 2001 when Mary K. Hoodhood heard from a principal in Grand Rapids that kids were digging through the trash in the lunch room to find food to take home for dinner, she knew something had to be done.  First thought was to call Child Protective services, but digging a little deeper, it wasn't abuse or neglect, it was simply the fact that the homes they came from simply had no money for food.  People working two or three jobs to make ends meet.  Sacrificing time away from family to simply keep a roof over their heads.
Follow Kids Food Basket on Facebook

Since 2001, Kids Food Basket has extended their reach past Grand Rapids.  They now help out in Holland and Muskegon as well, and if you're sitting down, we'll hit you with some statistics.  In West Michigan there are currently 794,700 children receiving free or reduced meals at school.  SEVEN HUNDRED AND NINETY FOUR THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED!  There are 8000 kids fed daily by Kids Food Basket at 47 schools and there are 30 schools on the waiting list for help for their students.  Folks...those numbers are simply staggering and this is not a problem limited to inner cities or rural areas.  Food insecurity is real and happening right where we live.  Including the Orchard View School District.

OV Elementary has become one of the newer schools that are receiving the "sack suppers" for the kids to take home for that all important evening meal.   As mentioned, it's not inner cities, it's not ghost towns it's neighborhoods with great pride and hard working families like Orchard View who are struggling.  Our friends and neighbors.  Hiding behind their pride and need.  Kids at the OV elementary schools were hiding food in their pockets and desks so they didn't have to go hungry at night.  Just next to impossible to believe.

I sat down with Angel Mendiola from the Kids Food Basket and OV Elementary Principal Heather MacDonald and Early Childhood Specialist Brandy Carey to talk about the cause and effect, as well as what they have found since Kids Food Basket has gotten involved at their schools.  We also talked a little about how Muskegon came together to make sure kids got fed during the Polar Vortex.  Take a listen.


It's on us all.  This is all of our future and it's the simplest of basic needs.  It's a grass roots organization to the core and it's based on all of us doing our little part.  If you'd like to know more about Kids Food Basket or if you'd like to know how to help.


Friday, January 25, 2019

The Sled Wings Play Sunday the 27th at the LC Walker Arena and a Benefit to Happen at the Back Alley Comedy Club Feb 16th

We've been following along with the Grand Rapids Sled Wings for a while now.  After all, we are the original "Hockey Town" on the West side of the state!  The Sled Wings are an adaptive hockey team giving those who use mobility devices a chance to play a game that generally takes the full capacity of an athlete.  Now, this isn't to say that the Sled Wings lack athleticism in any way...in fact, traditional hockey players might even have a hard time keeping up.



The Sled Wings affiliated with Mary Freebed Rehabilitation Hospital and have been around since 2001 and have levels of participation for everyone from mini mites to adults.  They play in sleds as you can assume by the team name that help them navigate the ice, and the play...we'll, it's equally as exciting as any other hockey game and when "regular" hockey players give the sled hockey a try, they gain a new level of respect for the players almost instantly.
For Tickets to the Comedy Benefit Click Here

Like any other hockey program, it takes time, dedication and investment.  It's hard enough to find ice time for any hockey team.  They travel far and wide, all hours of the day to find time to practice and play.  We have a chance to help them out in a couple ways.  First, the Sled Wings will be playing their annual game against the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Sunday January 27th.  The Jacks love this game and the Sled Wings love to compete against the top tier of developmental hockey players in the USA.  Second, you'll get a chance to enjoy some laughter at a night of comedy at The Back Alley Comedy Club on February 16th where there will be a special event held for the Sled Wings.  There will not only be a funny show, but some silent auction items, maybe some raffles and more.  It all goes to help the program and players and families of this great sport!

Today, I met up with Ricarlo Williams Winston who's a great stand up himself and manager of The Back Alley Club and "Hockey Mom" Angela Reynolds who's 15 year old son plays for the Sled Wings.  Her story is one that should be told on it's own...we'll work on that....but for now, learn a little about the upcoming game and the great night of comedy coming up to help out some remarkable athletes.

We're proud to support the Sled Wings and their work to bring the awesome sport of hockey to anyone.  Make sure you check out the game at the LC Walker Arena on Sunday Jan 27th and then head to the Back Alley Comedy Club on Feb 16th for a great night of laughter to help the program along.  To learn more about the Sled Wings, click on their logo below to visit their website.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Soup and Serve for Martin Luther Kin Jr Day With The United Way of Muskegon

The observance of Martin Luther King Jr Day is Monday Jan 21st and since the holiday was established and first observed in 1986 the way the day is marked has evolved.  The "day off" idea changed into a day of service where people could aspire to follow in the footsteps of Dr. King and do something for their community as he would have.





When it comes to service, The United Way of The Lakeshore is the leader.  For over 100 years now, The United Way has been "inspiring change and building communities" with events like the "Day of Caring", "Ride United", "Fill the Truck - Give United" and of course "The Dolly Parton Imagination Library". All programs designed to engage the community and bring people closer together.  In honor of Dr. King, this is the 3rd "Soup and Serve" lunch that they are putting on so you can stop in and see first hand the work that goes on and learn a little about some of the programs at The United Way.

Drop in anytime between 10-2p on Monday and you'll be greeted by United Way staff and volunteers.  You'll enjoy some delicious soup and get to see fist hand just what goes on to make the organization tick and how their outreach goes so far beyond the walls at 31 Clay Avenue in Muskegon.  They will also have an action element going on that day with area groups out helping some of our senior citizens "Clear a Path".  It might be some work around the house or yard, or if it happens...maybe some snow removal.  Just a helping hand for a friend and neighbor.


Always great work from the United Way and a great opportunity for you to stop in and learn a little more while enjoying a nice lunch on Monday!  For more information, please click on the United Way logo below to visit their MLK - Clearing the Path web page!


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Help The Noah Project - "Hug Your Ween" With Comedian Stu McCallister

Everyone wants to do their part, right?  We also know that if you want to give a pet a forever home that a rescue is the way to go.  The shelters are all bursting at the seams with pets who are looking for some love and attention.  The shelters are often run by loving volunteers and fund raising is always a key for the care of the animals.  We hear about the banquets...we hear about the kids who give up birthday presents to help....but what about the comedians?



Stu McCallister is a comedian from Grand Rapids.  He performs all over West Michigan and the mid west.  He's the founder of the LMNOPodcast and he hosted a show called Tonight Tonight with Stu McCallister and his annual Christmas card exchange is one of the most fun things on Facebook if you follow Stu.  He also uses his platform to do an awful lot of good.  He's been a part of Laughfest in Grand Rapids to benefit Gilda's Club for years and works to help promote the festival and the events surrounding it.
Follow Stu on Facebook

His good deeds extend to Muskegon too.  He's taken a shine to local animal rescue The Noah Project.  He's adopted 3 dogs from The Noah Project now, which includes the inspiration for the "Hug You Ween" project.  "Ween" is actually Winter the second adoptee from The Noah Project for Stu.  Winter seems to have taken on a starring role all her own.  Now starring in a series of stickers saying "Hug Your Ween", Winter is popping up on widows, coffee mugs, three ring binders...anywhere a sticker sticks really.  The stickers are available from Stu and they are 2 for $5 bucks and all of the proceeds go to benefit The Noah Project.  To date, a few hundred bucks have been sent to the shelter to help with the costs of food and care.  It's a way for one guy to give back a little to help the organization who's given him his forever friends.

It was adoption day for dog 3 Saturday.  I stopped in to see Stu as he was picking up BJ to go home and buddy up with Winter.  Take a listen to the chat!


A great friend and a great guy all the way around.  If you've never caught one of Stu's comedy shows, make it a point.  If you are an animal lover like Stu and would like to help The Noah Project out with a little contribution you can stop in to The Noah Project on Airline Road in Muskegon and pick a couple up or you can get a hold of Stu via his Facebook page and get yourself a couple of fun stickers, with a purpose.  If you'd like to know more about The Noah Project, click on their logo below.


Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Holiday Stroll on the Fenner Road Holiday Trail

With the holidays here, every one is in a hurry...everyone is at their limit when it comes to the hustle and bustle and everyone is also in search of just one of those quiet moments that they can enjoy as a family, together, that won't break the bank.  For some, the days when the charm of the holiday's are long gone, but it's important to remember that our kids....they still feel the magic and are still delighted by all that surrounds the holiday season.



All that noise we hear, day in and day out can be washed away by the sound of "Jingle Bells" and the sights of some nice lights and favorite characters of both Christmas today and Christmas past if we let them.  Some may take their annual drive around area neighborhoods to see what there is to see.  Others might bury themselves in the Hallmark Channel for some binge watching and others, well, they might go the extra mile and take a look around their property to see what a little imagination and innovation can do for them, and while they are at it, why not invite the community out to see what there is to see..and share in the holiday spirit.
Fenner Road Holiday Trail on Facebook

Such is the case with Patti Winsemius.  Patti and family live out on Fenner Road on the North side of town and a few years ago, at the behest of her granddaughter, it was time to decorate the woods and have a party.  Now, keep in mind, this was a Halloween request at the time, but the simple first suggestion grew.  A year or so later right after Halloween was done up went the Christmas decor and today, you'll find the Fenner Road Holiday Trail open to all who'd like a gentle stroll through the woods to the delight of nice songs, friendly characters and comfortable surroundings.

It's a hobby to Patti.  She takes great delight in re-purposing things she finds at garage sales and second hand shops.  She's recruited some help from family when it comes to painting things and a couple years ago, when running extension cords got a little bothersome,  the hubs got on it and put some underground wiring out there to help things out.  There has never been a charge to take the stroll, at either Halloween or Christmas, it's just a way to share some warmth and joy to anyone who'd like to slow the pace for a few minutes and enjoy the stroll.

Having a visit from Positively Muskegon did however spark an idea for Patti.  She went to the Township hall and learned about a couple of local families that could use a hand this holiday season.  It's by no means required, but...they will be willing to take some small donations or maybe some non perishable food items or personal care items to help these local families.  You might find a donation box at the end of the stroll or maybe a place to leave some food, but again, it's by offering only if you care to help.

The walk, located at 4310 Fenner Road in Muskegon opens at dusk and it's a very family friendly experience.  Patti and I sat down to talk a little about it and then, stick around for a few highlights of the walk at the end of the video!  Take a look.


This is what this time of year is supposed to be about.  We were even invited to stay for hamburgers after we taped!  Take a few minutes to enjoy what the Winsemius family has created, and if you care to help out with the donations for the families in need, please do.  There are lots of opportunities to see great displays around town, Muskegon and the good people here always go the extra mile to bring a little joy.  Head on out to the Fenner Road Holiday Trail with the kids for a stroll of your own.  It's well worth the trip, and the time away from all the noise.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Giving Back Christmas 2018 - Andrea Rosema and Crew Still Going Strong For Muskeogn

It was way back when in 2015 this little blog got started.  It wasn't much more than an idea and a GoPro.  What it was to become and what it would grow into were still to be comprehended but one message from a mom out in Wolf Lake shifted the entire purpose.  It was a cold day in December, in a "she shed" in a back yard where the focus came to be, and as long as it's happening, we're going to go back




Giving back Christmas was the brainchild of Andrea Rosema and friends.  The idea was to put on a party, open to all area kids to come out to and have a little holiday cheer.  Decorate some cookies, make a card for a soldier, a visit with Santa to round things out.  Maybe some prizes, food and drink..all in all, just what anyone is supposed to do at the holidays.  Get together and be a part of a community.  It's caring friends and neighbors who take the time after work to go out hustle up some sponsors, put out some flyers, spread the word through social media and the old "phone tree".  This is grass roots community building in action, and this is exactly what Positively Muskegon is all about.

Click Here for Giving Back Christmas on Facebook
We got the the party a year late.  Hey, it wasn't really our fault that they started a year before we did.  But for 4 years now, the VFW on Apple has been the home of the festivities.  December 15th is the date this year and the time runs from 1-5.  It's not just for Wolf Lakers, anyone is welcome and it's free.  Sure, they accept donations but the idea is advertised in the title, "Giving Back Christmas".  It's an event to just enjoy for anyone to not worry about the cost of tickets, levels of seating or who's who.

Andrea and I once again met up in that frozen "she shed" to talk about what's to come this year.  It's the invitation extended to you and yours to join the fun on Saturday the 15th and if you like what's going on, it's your chance to help support the event.  Take a listen.


It's a joy to visit Andrea every year.  We've grown a little, Giving Back Christmas has as well.  It's people like Andrea and her friends that go the extra mile to make Muskegon a better place.  What we do here would simply be impossible without the work of so many good people like the group of folks that work with Andrew to help this very special event come together.  Head out to the VFW with your youngins' and enjoy on the 15th.  There's a list of everything to do below.  Our thanks to Andrea again not only for what she and her friends add, but for that focus she gave us early on.  President Kennedy said "One person can make a difference, and everyone should try."  Pretty sure he was talking about Andrea.