Community > Coronavirus
Here are a few updates about how Heights of Hope has changed and adapted during this time:
Part 1: April 28, 2020
If this were a typical year, we’d be gathering together this week for our annual HOH luncheon where we’d share a meal, laugh together as we did some silly skit, and be encouraged and inspired as we reflected on some of the many ways God is moving and growing in us and our community. As we mourn the loss of getting to be physically together with you all, we wanted to reach out to let you know that God is still moving and growing in us and reminding us that Community is > Coronavirus!
It is a humbling thing to have people anonymously drop off a case of toilet paper to be shared, to see neighbors taking turns getting food for each other to help keep each other safe and fed, to have people call and say they’d like to donate their stimulus check to make sure our neighbors are cared for and to ensure that the work we do can continue. Community IS > Coronavirus!
Over the next week, we’ll send you some brief updates on how our programs have adapted to life during this time. (Watch for updates on Circles, Food Distributions, and our Mentoring Program.) We are in the midst of uncertain times: uncertain about how this pandemic will continue to affect our neighborhood both now and in the months to come, uncertain about our finances as we don’t have our annual luncheon which usually funds around $22,000 of our annual budget, and uncertain about summer programming as we await news of when social distancing measures will be lifted. However! We are certain of a few things. We are certain that we are blessed to not do this alone. We are certain that God will continue to work. We are certain that Community > Coronavirus and we are certainly thankful that YOU are part of this community!
If you are able to financially support the work of Heights of Hope at this time, we invite you to donate (link below)
Thanks again for being part of this amazing community,
The Heights of Hope Staff
Part 2: April 29, 2020
During this time, Heights of Hope has had some hard goodbyes. It's sad to think of all we're missing. We had to cut our winter creative arts program called Explosion short by two weeks. (Here's a highlight video of what we still got to accomplish together.) We've stopped gathering on Monday afternoons for coffee and fellowship. We've stopped having our monthly potlucks and neighborhood leadership meetings. We had to cancel our neighborhood spring break trip and our annual luncheon. While we are sad to see those things go, we are so very thankful for how we've seen our community still coming together in powerful ways!
We see this play out every Tuesday in our Circles USA program (https://www.circlesusa.org/) The goal of Circles is to “build community to end poverty”. We love this program because it brings together people from all different walks of life who commit to meeting together weekly for 18 months as we set and work towards achieving goals, learning, networking, and supporting one another through all the ups and downs of life. Little did we know that this would include journeying through a global pandemic together!
Because of social distancing orders, we’ve adapted to meeting together virtually on Zoom each week and utilizing a Facebook page where we share resources, affirm each other when we see someone taking steps toward their goals, celebrate birthdays, and encourage each other when things get tough (like having your fridge break down in the midst of a pandemic or needing an emergency appendectomy)! We were apprehensive about how this obstacle would affect our group. We already have people coming from all different socio-economic and racial groups, life experiences, and access to and comfort in using technology. We met each other only two months ago. How would we build trust? Would we persevere?
We are praising God that the answer has been a resounding yes! Our attendance and participation has not only withstood this test but improved! The resilience, commitment, vulnerability and willingness to pursue one another has been inspiring. We are thankful for and reminded of the power of Community > Coronavirus!
Thanks for being a part of this amazing community. If you are able to financially support the work of Heights of Hope at this time, we invite you to donate (see button below)
The Heights of Hope staff
Part 3: April 30, 2020
At Heights of Hope, we often focus on development -- development of relationships, of community leaders, of skills to move from poverty to stability. While we see these things still happening, during this time we've had to start putting more focus on meeting basic needs, like food (and toilet paper!)
We’re so thankful for all who have helped keep our food pantry at Calvary on 8th open and well stocked. Additionally, we're now able to provide online ordering, curbside pickup, and a delivery option! While the number of people who serve at the pantry has decreased as we work to honor social distancing for everyone's safety, we deeply appreciate our pantry volunteers and those who have donated to our general fund, or directly to our account at Feeding America.
We’ve also been grateful to host food distributions at the Community Center and Calvary on 8th every Monday and Wednesday. We love that our Community Center can be a hub for connecting families to food and other resources from organizations that we partner with, like Holland Public Schools, Hand2Hand, Kids Food Basket, and Community Action House.
We also appreciate how this time has helped us stay connected with neighbors as we learn about other needs in our community and hear stories of ways neighbors are supporting each other. A couple weeks ago we realized there was a growing need for masks, first for essential employees in our neighborhood and now for everyone headed out into the public. What a gift to be able to connect people with material and elastic, to people who sew, to people who are so appreciative of the finished masks. Again, we are reminded that Community is > Coronavirus!
Thank you for being a part of this amazing community,
The Heights of Hope Staff
Part 4: May 1, 2020
We can’t end our updates without a shout out to all our amazing mentors and mentees! We currently have 27 mentoring matches who spend time together each week. When they signed up for a long-term commitment to journey through life with each other, who would’ve imagined that they’d be navigating through a pandemic?! Our matches have been continuing to learn and grow together, but instead of baking or hiking or going to the Aquatic Center, they are now learning how to Zoom, play games on HouseParty, or utilizing the video chat feature in Facebook Messenger. We are so very grateful for the resilience, adaptability, and faithfulness these matches demonstrate!
As we wrap up this week, we want to again say THANK YOU for joining us on this journey! While the opportunities to physically be present together have halted for the moment, we appreciate all you’re doing to support the work of Heights of Hope through
Donations sent to us @ 995 E 8th St / Holland, MI 49423
Using our Amazon Smile account
Being a good neighbor, wherever you are
As we go forward into uncertain times, we say thank you in advance for considering how you can be an active part of this Community that is > Coronavirus!
The Heights of Hope Staff