At Christmas, residents at Raybrook Manor blessed 70×7 Life Recovery with a gift drive! We received wrapped shoeboxes full of women’s hygiene items and useful gifts, blankets, soap, masks, and other needed items to share with participants. Also, the congregation from Together Church in Wyoming did a collection drive for 70×7 in December. We received hats, gloves & scarfs, bike locks and lights, lotion, lip balm, hand sanitizer and other hygiene items especially useful in winter. A big Thank You to both Raybrook Manor and Together Church for their thoughtfulness and generosity!
“Stacey” came to our office in desperate need in December. With 5 kids (5 to 15), she was a hard-working mother on 3rd shift. She was devastated when she learned the family member she trusted to care for the kids while she was working was instead abusing them. When criminal charges were filed, her landlord kicked the entire family out of their home. She was staying with the kids in not-great hotel room; worried about their trauma, about leaving them to go to work, about needed car repairs and about paying for this hotel room – Christmas wasn’t going to be an option. After hearing her story and providing some items we have in the office to help, Antwan Brown, Grand Rapids Executive Director, started praying – and networking. The next day, employees of Tim Koning, 70×7’s CEO, came to see Antwan. They had taken a collection to purchase a Christmas gift for Tim; Tim said the best gift would be to donate it to someone in need through 70×7. They put this donation right on top of Stacey’s file – which clearly seemed this was where it was needed! Through other connections and donors, Antwan was able to coordinate car repairs, additional rent money, gift cards for food and Christmas, and best of all, a new job opportunity for Stacey. in a hotel that would give them a place to stay until she could find a new home.
“Jim” came to 70×7 after 24 years of incarceration. Intelligent and eager, he nevertheless struggled with navigating some of the soft skills needed for employment. 70×7 helped him with his transition back into the community, obtained a bicycle for him, and through Changes classes, he made significant progress on his people skills. He landed a good job through New Day Staffing and recently came to the office to thank us for helping him. He wanted to show us the vehicle he recently purchased with his savings from work. We celebrate with Jim on the great work he’s doing!
Submitted by Cheryl Wyma
Diaconal Ministry Report.