By Sonya Hollins, editor
KALAMAZOO (MICH.)-The Kalamazoo Gospel Mission has been a godsend to people in the community of Kalamazoo for more than 75 years. From helping men break through addictions to go on to become successful members of society, to helping families in need receive a hot meal. The organization located at 448 N. Burdick St., in downtown Kalamazoo has services for those of all ages…even the unborn.
The Gospel Mission was recently awarded the Dr. Arthur James Award for helping provide education and assistance to pregnant women. The award is founded by Healthy Babies Health Start to honor those who go above and beyond the call of duty to insure the health and welfare of unborn and newborn babies.
The Rev. Denise Posie, pastor of Immanuel Christian Reformed Church, and president of the Northside Ministerial Alliance, presented the award to the Rev. Michael Brown, executive director of the mission. Posie said it is the compassion a community has for children is important. She said when communities collaborate their services to help those in need, particularly the children, they are loving as Jesus loved.
The Kalamazoo Gospel Mission receives more than 80 percent of its food from donations along with donations of other items. The organization has programs to get people to work such as employment in its thrift shop and training through its automotive program.
The Kalamazoo Gospel Mission is more than just a hand out, it’s a hand up, as Tamsyn Bucher testified. As she cradled her precious four-week-old daughter, Colbie in her arms, she shared how those at the Gospel Mission helped her through her pregnancy. The program provides workshops on healthy eating, child care and prenatal care along with resources and referrals.
“When they say the ‘proof is in the pudding,’ well, here is my pudding,” she said holding Colbie.
The Dr. Arthur James Award was established in 2010 to honor the legacy of Dr. James and his unrelenting advocacy for the elimination of racial disparities in maternal and infant health. The award will be given annually. The first award was presented to Dr. Michael Liepman for the Mother Mind Matters Initiative which worked with low-income women suffering from postpartum depression.