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The Great Lakes Region
Church Delivers a Good Night’s Sleep
“We have a policy here at the church that if somebody has a bright idea, they’re in charge,” says Richard Heusinkveld, pastor at Immanuel Community Reformed Church in Lansing, Michigan. A few years ago, member Sally Folkringa had one of those bright ideas.
“She was doing a little volunteer work in the office of Lansing Christian Services, our Love INC* here. She became aware of a need for beds. There was a furniture ministry where they collect used furniture, but beds seemed to be a huge need.
“She came and presented the idea and we approved it, so she moved forward with it. It has evolved into a significant ministry in our community.”
Need Sum Zeees—the ministry Folkringa established—has distributed hundreds of beds over the last three years. Lansing Christian Services identifies families who are genuinely in need of a bed, and the church delivers beds—mattresses, bed frames, and linens—to the families. When there’s extra money, the church also provides a blanket, and if children are in the home they try to leave a few Christian children’s books.
“We find that most of them end up in homes of single moms,” Heusinkveld says. “Oftentimes they are apartments of individuals who have just gotten out of a shelter and have nothing. We find sometimes no beds in the apartments whatsoever, just mattresses on the floor. Or sometimes two, three, or four children are sleeping in one bed together.”
“We take all the donated beds that we can from individuals,” Heusinkveld says, but the majority of the beds are purchased from Michigan State University when it replaces furniture in its dorms. “We may purchase as many as 100 beds at a time. A member of the church has a utility trailer that he leaves at the church, and we use that to deliver them. Sally has five teams that do the deliveries. Every Thursday night, they go out and deliver beds, generally anywhere from one to three beds every week.”
Before delivery, beds are stored in two large storage units. This summer, the church will construct a storage building on its property to reduce costs.
*Love in the Name of Christ, a ministry that works with churches to help the poor
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