We serve over 12,000 meals a year through our justice & compassion ministries, many to the homeless and underfed. The food, as much as it's needed is only the occasion for the greater gift of community and relationship shared by those who serve and those who receive. In reality, we all do a little of each.
Friday Night Homeless Ministry - Liberty Plaza Park, Ann Arbor
Contact: Mary Ann Trainor & Tom Probst
Who wants to stand in subzero temperatures serving pizza and coffee while handing out bags of food? Who enjoys doing this in the heat of the summer and the torrential rains of spring for a group of 80-120 people who are generally ignored by the rest of the community?
We do. We are the volunteers of the Ann Arbor Vineyard Homeless Ministry who recognize the dignity of each person by taking God’s kingdom banquet to the streets every Friday evening of every month, of every year since 2006. Volunteers load up a van with food, beverages, grocery bags and clothing, and head to Liberty Plaza Park in downtown Ann Arbor for food and fellowship.
Sunday Meal - Hope Center Ypsilanti
Contact: Joy Lange
Every third Sunday of the month, Vineyard goes to Ypsilanti to prepare and serve an early evening meal to people in need at the Hope Center located at 518 Harriet St. Ypsilanti, MI 48197. Our goal is to provide the guests with high quality food and service, showing God's love in a practical way. There are two crews needed (cooking crew and serving crew). The cooking crew serves from 2-4pm. The serving crew serves from 3:45-5:45pm. Contact Joy Lange for any questions or if you would like to get involved.
Items of clothing are collected at Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor all week long. Volunteers organize all the donated items on Thursday & Friday evenings, and they are handed out at the Park on Friday nights. Some items are purchased to fulfill specific needs that are lacking in the donations.
If you are interested in donating money simply writing that you'd like to designate your gift to the homeless ministry in the notes section.
Your gift will provide meals to our homeless friends through our regular Friday night dinner at Liberty Plaza (something we’ve been doing since 2006) and through our monthly dinner at the Salvation Army in Ypsilanti.
Friday Nights: Meet at the church at 6pm to help load the truck with totes of food and supplies, make coffee, assign jobs for serving at the park, introduce new volunteers, go over guidelines. Commute together to park, pick up pizza, unload truck, serve/minister to park friends, reload truck. Return to the church, unload the truck. Usually finished by 8:30pm.
Bag Packers: Every other week on Thursday evenings, meet at the church to pack bags of food (canned goods) that are handed out Friday evenings. Heavy lifting. With three to four volunteers, generally can be done in about an hour.
Clothes Sorting: Need volunteers to sort through clothing donations to determine if they are appropriate for use for homeless. Usable clothing to be sorted by gender, size, and type. Depending on volume of donations, can be done one to two times per month, generally on a Thursday evening with volunteers who help pack bagged groceries. If done on a regular basis, should only take about an hour or so.
Every Thursday Afternoon: Involves going to Food Gatherers to pick up food that we order, as well as shop through their shelves for any additional items that we can use. Scheduled pick up time is Thursday at 2:30pm, and with pick up, shopping time, and delivering back to the church can take at least an hour, give or take. Heavy lifting.
Special events: In addition to our Friday evening visits, we host special events throughout the year such as a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, Super Bowl Party, and one week of the winter Rotating Shelter. You can volunteer to help at any of these events and will be notified as dates get closer.
Donating Clothing & Personal Items
You can make a donation at the church Tuesday through Friday, 9-5, or on Sunday before or after a service. We gladly accept all donations, but we find some of our greatest needs to be:
Most needed clothing items: Gently used jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, gym shoes, boots, and backpacks. In winter we need long-johns, coats, and gloves. Socks and underwear are purchased new. You may donate these items in their original package or, possibly better, donate the money for their purchase.
Most needed personal items: New toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, hand towels, moisturizer/lotion, and razors for shaving. Hotel and travel sizes are great.
Donating Food Items
Soda and bottled water are distributed every Friday evening at the park and we go through about 100 bottles of water and about 100 12oz cans of store brand soda. These could be purchased every week or every other week. To be dropped off at church. Reimbursed by ministry.
Donations of food staples (such as canned vegetables, meats, fruits, pasta, and soups) are welcome and then distributed to needy guests who have cooking facilities but insufficient funds for needed food.