We Welcome All

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We welcome all at Ministry with Community. All races and ethnicities, all religions (and those who are not religious), all sexual orientations, all gender identities, all languages, and all disabilities. All who enter our building are welcome, valued, and respected. This has always been true for us, but we think that it’s an important message to be clear about. That’s why we printed it on a couple of colorful banners that now hang in the entrance and dining room of our building.

It isn’t enough just to be welcoming. Ministry with Community staff regularly attend trainings and workshops to learn more about how we can serve our members and community in the most equitable way. Recent staff trainings have included education about systemic racism, the LGBTQAI+ community, and ableism. In February, an Anti-racism Committee was formed as an official Committee of our Board of Directors. This Committee’s goal is to ensure that our practices and services aren’t oppressing or creating barriers for those we serve, employ, and interact with.

At Ministry with Community, acceptance extends not only to our members, but also to our staff, leadership, volunteers, and anyone who walks through our doors.

Click here for a link to our full statement of inclusion.

Our Summer 2019 Garden

We’ve already harvested over 215 pounds of produce from our garden this summer! This is only the second year we’ve had the garden at Ministry with Community, but once again, members are taking excellent care of it and it shows.  

The garden is a great place for members to give back, but it’s also a place where they can feel restored. “It’s not just a garden of vegetables. It’s a garden of human love,” said Debra, a member at MwC and a devoted garden volunteer.

Everything harvested from our garden goes directly to our kitchen to be prepared for meals. In July alone, we served 12,659 meals, so each pound of produce makes a difference in our budget and helps us provide healthy options for our members.

Interested in volunteering in our garden? Click here to fill out a volunteer application or contact Megan Stull, Volunteer and Operations Coordinator at mstull@ministrywithcommunity.org or 269-343-6073 x134.

Open House Save the Date


Ministry with Community
Annual Open House & Award Ceremony
Thursday, September 12, 2019
4:30pm - 6:00pm

Join us for our Annual Open House! This event is a great way to see our facility and our beautiful garden up-close. It’s also the perfect opportunity to learn more about how we serve our community. Self guided tours are available before our Volunteer Awards ceremony starts. See you there!

Chefs Against Hunger 2019 Recap

Chefs Against Hunger 2019 presented by Zhang Financial, was a success! Congratulations to our winners, Chef Betsy Ruth of The Union Cabaret & Grille, and Local Celebrity Sous-chef, Carly Robbins! Taking home the People’s Choice Award for the evening was Chef Cee Jay Steiner of Senior Services, and Local Celebrity Sous-chef, Sydney Parfet!

Click here to check out our dedicated Chefs Against Hunger page for more photos and information about the event.

Special Friends

Volunteer Bob DeShazo plays the guitar during a meal sponsored by the Irish American Club last St. Patrick’s Day.

Volunteer Bob DeShazo plays the guitar during a meal sponsored by the Irish American Club last St. Patrick’s Day.

Bob DeShazo is a regular volunteer at Ministry with Community. Bob loves to serve meals and often plays the guitar for our members during lunchtime. Recently, Bob wrote a song about our members called Special Friends, and we are happy to share the audio and lyrics below.

Thank you, Bob, for knowing our members and serving them with so much kindness.


1,803 Pounds of Vegetables

On November 6, 2018, MwC staff harvested the last of the vegetables grown in our garden. Several baskets of red potatoes were dug up as rain fell and wind blew. Despite the inclement weather, it was a celebration for us.

This was the final harvest from the first garden we ever grew as an organization, and one that we will never forget. The garden itself was maintained almost entirely by self-organized members. They showed up early to water each morning, kept weeds to a minimum, and helped us harvest from each plant. Members also assisted in weighing everything we picked from the garden and logged the amounts in a notebook.

Including the final harvest of potatoes, the MwC garden produced 1,803 pounds of vegetables! Each vegetable picked went directly to our kitchen where staff prepared it for our members to eat at mealtimes.

We would like to thank our members, volunteers, and the Rotary Club of Oshtemo for making our dream of growing a garden possible.

19th Annual Underwear Party Recap

The 19th Annual Underwear Party, presented by Cliff Mulder of Raymond James, was a lively event that brought hundreds of generous community members together at the Radisson in Kalamazoo on Monday, December 3rd, 2018. 

We are thrilled to announce that more than 5,000 items of warm clothing were collected that night! Those items are now being sorted by some of our fabulous volunteers to be wrapped and given to members on Christmas Day. 

In addition to the clothing, the event has raised nearly $25,000 so far! 

If you attended or supported the event, we would like to thank you for your generosity. The success of our organization, and our ability to help our members to rebuild their lives is thanks to you!


We're Growing!

Ministry with Community is growing a garden! Thanks to a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Oshtemo, on May 23, 2018, a group of members, volunteers, and staff came together and built 20 raised beds. A week later, we dedicated the garden and started planting. Plants were sprouting up through the soil within days, and we're now picking vegetables and serving them to members from our own kitchen. Click through the photos to catch a glimpse at the process and read more about the experience in our next newsletter. Also, stay tuned to our Facebook page for an upcoming video of the build day and dedication courtesy of Hi-Tech Electric Company and their incredible staff members Tony Gaudio and Greg Monette!

A special thanks to:

  • The Rotary Club of Oshtemo for generously donating $5,000 to make the garden possible
  • Hi-Tech Electric Company for allowing Tony and Greg to spend an entire day filming us build
  • All of the members that have helped throughout the process and continue to look after the plants
  • Each volunteer that donated their time on a hot day to help build the beds

Our New Mural

Our once blank dining room wall is now covered by a beautiful new mural. Local artist, Margy Hunter, led members in creating the beautiful café scene using paint that was generously donated by Douglas & Son Inc. owner, Roger Storteboom. The project was started in late May and was completed recently. Check out the photos above to see the amazing work our members and Margy put into the project, and be sure to read more about the effort in our next newsletter.

A special thanks to:

  • Each of the members that worked on the project
  • Douglas & Son Inc. for donating the paint, brushes, and materials to make this project possible
  • Margy Hunter for her time, creativity, and leadership

Kelly Henderson is MwC's New Executive Director!

Kelly Henderson stands outside of MwC. Photo courtesy of  Encore Magazine .

Kelly Henderson stands outside of MwC. Photo courtesy of Encore Magazine.

We are thrilled to announce that Kelly Henderson is Ministry with Community's new Executive Director! Kelly has been with the organization for nearly a decade and was most recently in the position of Associate Director. 

"During her ten years at MwC," says Board President, Tom Schlueter, "she has consistently shown her compassion and professionalism in dealing with our members and dedicated staff. We are grateful for her leadership." 

We couldn't agree more! Kelly was instrumental in the construction of our new facility and says that she is "looking forward to working with our fantastic staff to ensure that we are using this new space to continue providing critical basic services as well as helping those who are ready to make meaningful strides in achieving greater independence. We are forever grateful to our community for recognizing the needs of those struggling more than most."

For more information on Kelly Henderson, follow this link to an article in February's issue of Encore Magazine.

To contact Kelly Henderson, Executive Director, please call (269) 343-6073 x130 or email her at khenderson@ministrywithcommunity.org. 

Congratulations to our Volunteer Award Winners!

On Tuesday, September 26th we held our Annual Open House and Volunteer Awards Ceremony. We have the best volunteers in Kalamazoo and it was our pleasure to acknowledge some of them with the following awards:

The Cheever Treatment Center Young Volunteer Award
Cesar Hernandez

The Sisters of St. Joseph Group Volunteers of Excellence Award
WMU Athletes

The Dorothy Markusse Community Volunteer Award
Melissa Locke

The Judy Sarkozy Spirit of Community Business Award
Greenleaf Hospitality/Radisson of Kalamazoo
with special recognition to Jessie Buehl and Derrick Ricca

The Roscoe Turner Volunteer Member Award
Gerry Gulliver

A Message from Rob Oakleaf

The Staff at MwC

The Staff at MwC

As I approach the end of my last week at Ministry with Community, I have to admit it’s getting a little emotional.  This place is truly special and will always have a big spot in my heart.  For nearly a decade it has been my pleasure and honor to work with the most amazing people – members, volunteers, staff, and donors.  Thank you to all of you for the many ways you support Ministry’s important work.  Thank you, also, for making my time here so remarkable and rewarding.   — Rob Oakleaf