“We are so blessed”

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It seems like Christmas all year round at Calvin Theological Seminary, thanks to the generous gifts of many people and churches.

In addition to much-appreciated scholarships provided by people from all over the United States and Canada, Christian Reformed churches in West Michigan also support the seminary in other ways.

The seminary’s Idema Food Pantry and Clothes Closet provide much-needed resources for many students. More than 100 households with 283 people, including 91 children, have access to free food and other household products that would otherwise be added to their household expenses.

The food pantry buys over 1,000 pounds of food each week from Second Harvest Gleaners, a low-cost food distributor. Students and their spouses stock the food pantry, which is open three times a week for seminary students and their families. Every week new donations of clothing are added to the Clothes Closet.

Coordinator and student spouse Debra Vandermeer is grateful for “all the wonderful clothes and household items that are dropped off and just keep coming! It’s such a help to all of us, and especially for the people who come from warmer countries and do not have coats, mittens, or warmer clothes.”

Churches such as Eastern Avenue and Fuller Avenue CRC provide food for the pantry. Woodlawn CRC provides Christmas gifts for the children of seminary students. In addition, many pairs of mittens come from area knitters, as well as baby blankets and quilts for families with new babies and towel sets for new students. Some area businesses also participate in giving.

Vandermeer expressed the gratitude of seminary families to Banner readers: “I think it would be awesome for other CRC people to know what wonderful support we receive while here in Grand Rapids,” she said.

About the Author

Kathy Smith is senior associate director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and an adjunct professor at Calvin Theological Seminary and Calvin University. She is a member of First CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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