Hungry for the Homeless
May 19-25 

Seven days. No money. No food. No place to lay our heads. One goal to raise enough resources to change a life. 

"the Son of Man has no place to lay his head."  - Jesus 


What is "Hungry for the Homeless"? 

Hungry for the Homeless is an attempt to bring attention to the issue of homelessness here in Holland, MI   as well as West Michigan as a whole, at the same time trying to raise money and resources to drastically change the lives of a family that is currently homeless.

What Will Hungry for the Homeless Look Like? 

I will be going homeless from May 19th – 25th.  I will stay at the mission for two of the days, but the remainder of the days I will live on the streets. I will fast two day’s prior to going homeless. I will also fast the last two days of the event. This is to represent the fact that there are families in Holland and all over this country going hungry every night. I will bring only the clothes on my back, a Bible and a devotional.  Jesus told his disciples " do not take any money with you or extra clothes."    So I won't.

Meet the Family.

Arlo and Rhonda are currently living at the Holland Rescue Mission with their two daughters, ages 5 & 6. The mission is so over-crowded that Arlo has to stay at the men’s shelter apart from his family. They get to be with each other for only about 2 hours a day. Both Arlo and Rhonda are working through a temporary agency on an on-call basis. Arlo is a convicted felon and is finding it very hard to find work. And Rhonda is working on transferring her nursing assistant certification to Michigan, but this also takes money and that is something they do not have. I have had the pleasure of meeting the family and spent some time with them. I can truly say that Arlo is one of the most loving fathers I have met. He has a great work ethic and is just looking for an opportunity to prove himself. He has truly learned from his mistake. He has been out of prison for a year and a half and has expressed that he will never do anything to put himself in that situation, and by watching him with his family and looking into his eyes you can tell that he is very sincere. Arlo and Rhonda have a great outlook and have a set of goals that they are trying to reach. Arlo has owned his own business in the past and would love to own one again in the future. Rhonda would love to become a Nursing Assistant here in Michigan.

Update on Arlo and Rhonda 5/8/08

Arlo and Rhonda's job assignment has ended and due to the stress of staying apart from her husband with the responsibility of raising the two girls, Rhonda has moved back to her parent's home in Indiana. She called me and explained that she wanted her daughters to have more stability and could not give that to them while they are homeless. Arlo has stayed behind in efforts to find a job and build a strong foundation for his family to come home to. The distance and time apart have put a huge strain on Arlo and Rhonda's relationship but they are willing to put forth the effort to repair their marriage. Arlo is currently homeless and no longer staying at the mission. He stays at friend's houses, sleeping on an available couch or a spot on the floor, never knowing from one night to the next where he will sleep. Our focus at Hungry for the Homeless is now shifting towards gathering the resources that Arlo will need to provide for himself and eventually his family. I have updated the "needs list" to reflect our most pressing needs.

How Can You Get Involved?

Join us for any amount of time, pray for us, fast with us or go do a     random act of kindness. Please take some time and read the "needs list" on the right-hand side of the screen to see if there is anything you can give to this wonderful family.

You can also volunteer at the local mission.

You can do a street walk and hand out badly needed toiletries, socks, clothes and food. The best thing you can do is sit and talk with someone who is homeless and show the love of Jesus. 

Call your local mission or shelter and ask what their needs are.

Family Hope Ministry Center     
356 Fairbanks Avenue
Holland MI 49423
Fax: 616.396.3911 

Guiding Light Mission, Grand Rapids MI

Getting started is easy. Just call our Volunteer Coordinator, Felicia VandenBranden at 616-451-0236, ext.20 to register for volunteer orientation.

Did you know...

Holland Rescue Mission provided 44,156 nights of lodging, had an average of 120 individuals staying there per night and prepared 108,655 meals.

Of the 120 individuals staying at the mission, 40%-50% are children.

52% of students in Holland in 2007 qualified for reduce-price lunch because family income falls below the federal poverty levels.

Homeless survey

Thursday morning, Hope College students hit Ottawa County streets to count the homeless for the Ottawa Area Housing Coalition's point-in-time survey. Numbers from 2007 are:

Number of homeless

on Jan. 25, 2007

427 people

Number of children

159 people (37 percent)

History of substance abuse

35 percent

History of mental illness

22 percent


6 percent

Victim of domestic violence

30 percent

-- Ottawa Area Housing Coalition point-in-time homelessness survey and Holland Rescue Mission

courtesy of Holland



 The Needs List

Employment – Arlo would love a chance to start at the ground level and work his way up. He can run basic machinery, warehousing, assembly, as well as other general duties. He also owned his own car-detailing company and is very good at it.

Transportation – Arlo has a clean Michigan driving license. If you have an old car to donate it would help this family greatly. Transportation is a must to help this family succeed.

A bus pass for the year would also be greatly appreciated.

Personal Counseling for Arlo- Arlo needs some counseling to help with the stress of being separated from his family and being homeless. This is one of his greatest needs.

Life Skills Training - Arlo could use some life skill training to help prepare him for the road ahead and to help him make wise decisions.

Financial Counselor – Arlo and Rhonda do have some debt and would like to pay that off and learn how to effectively manage their money.

Family Counseling – Being homeless and apart has put a huge strain on the family. They have requested marriage counseling and parenting classes. If you are a counselor you could offer a number of sessions for free or at a discount to the family. Someone could also pre-pay for the services.

Mentors – Arlo and Rhonda would love to meet with some mentors on a regular basis to help sort out  life issues and to seek advice. Training will be provided.

Friends – The family has no support group of any kind, including family. We all need friends and they have expressed that they would love to have friends to do things with.

Housing- Due to the fact that Arlo has a felony it has proved very difficult for him to find a place of residence. We are asking for someone to give him a chance. We are not looking for free housing, it is important for Arlo to earn his way, but housing at a reduced rent for a few months would help Arlo get on his feet. This is subject to Arlo first having employment so he can pay for rent. If he is unable to ubtain employment we will not be able to accept housing until Arlo is employed.