The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation awarded over $121,000 to 59 non-profit organizations and groups that serve the Greater Itasca Area during its 2017 Annual Grant Cycle.
According to Sarah Copeland, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Director of Grants and Programs, “Every year we listen to groups and organizations tell us what the community needs are, and we try to match those needs with funds and donors that have the same or similar criteria or giving intent. This year we awarded $121,300 as 59 grants to projects and programs that provide a significant impact on our communities.”
Over the last several weeks, the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation has been sharing the different ways that people can give back to community. Over the next several weeks, we will highlight some of the ways that giving has a real impact on our neighbors.
PHOTO: Amy Morrisette, Community Cafe Kitchen Coordinator, cooks and serves a hearty meal at King Elementary for the Deer River Community.
The Community Café – Dedicated to reducing hunger and building a stronger community
The Community Café has been operating and serving free hot meals for the past 16 years. There are no income requirements or other qualifications.
The Community Cafe was started in Grand Rapids in 2001 and was nestled in the back of the Itasca Resource Center. Over the years, the need for providing meals has increased, and an additional location in Deer River was established in 2007. First located at the Deer River Community Center, and then relocated to the Deer River High School, the Community Café quickly became a welcome part of the Deer River community. With a close eye on addressing the unique needs of each community, the Community Café Board of Directors worked with Deer River to move their operations to King Elementary School. “We are so happy!” said John Weber, Executive Director of Community Café. “The move to King Elementary has vastly improved how we serve the Deer River community.”
“Community Café understands the importance of providing a hot meal goes far beyond offering hot food, and moving to King Elementary has accomplished this goal”, stated Copeland. She also urges everyone to visit the Community Foundation website to view a video of John Weber talking about the move. “As for Grand Rapids, the Community Café is now located in the new Keisler Wellness Center, located behind Walmart. Community Café is a fabulous organization, and the Community Foundation was pleased to be able to provide three (3) grants to them during this year’s Annual Grant Cycle,” noted Copeland.
The Community Café seeks to satisfy people’s most fundamental need. It provides in some cases,
for some people, the only guarantee they will have a home cooked meal. Each Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30-6 p.m., the Café serves a four course home-style meal. Demographically, guests range in age from elderly seniors to parents with small children, developmentally or physically handicapped, people with mental illness and others who are homeless. The Café also provides a solution for other non-profit organizations to enhance their services by collaborating to provide their patrons with food. The Café offers a structured volunteer opportunity for numerous church groups, families, businesses and even for those needing to perform community service.
“We were pleased to again award a grant to the Community Café for ongoing operations at both the Grand Rapids and Deer River locations, and this year we provided an additional grant to fund much needed technological equipment and supplies,” said Copeland. “We are so fortunate to have the Edgar and Hannah Hetteen Fund, Gibbons Family Fund and Wildcat Fund that understand the importance of nourishing our body and our soul – together, at the same table, with our children and grandparents and neighbors.”
The Board of Directors and staff at the Community Foundation send a huge thank you to our donors who participate in our annual grant cycle and directly assist us in our mission of making our community a better place to live for all..
The Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation joins charitable intentions with community needs. If you have charitable intentions or community needs, we want to hear from you. Stop by our office in downtown Grand Rapids, call us at (218) 999-9100, or visit is on Facebook.