Bruce's Blog


Investing in People

November 3rd, 2014

When Russ came to UCOM looking for a job, he had no idea what would come next. A skilled tradesman, Russ owned the necessary tools for his work.  He had people who wanted to employ him. There was a catch: he had no liability insurance and no way to get $300 to pay for it. UCOM does not have funding to pay for insurance for people, but we haven’t been around for 30 years for nothing. Our Community Development Manager contacted Access of West Michigan. The caseworkers there recognized an opportunity to help so they asked a network of churches for money to bridge this gap. That day Russ was able to pay $300, obtain his insurance and get to work. A few months later he is still working regularly. He tears up a bit as he speaks of his new-found success. He has his own home now and he and his family are economically secure…thanks to you.

Our gifts to UCOM are investments in people. They are gifts that keep on giving…first, to meet an immediate need, then to encourage step by step the progress of individuals who often think that they are against a brick wall. Investing in people through UCOM is like playing a country music song backwards. You make up with your wife, you get your job back, your children appreciate you and your lost dog comes home.

Donations to UCOM are carefully stewarded. Each gift is used to make better the lives of flesh and blood people just like us. The work that you accomplish through UCOM is not theoretical; it is everyday practical rubber-meets-the-road realism.

The people who are involved with UCOM actually listen to the voices of our neighbors. Our question to those who come to us is not “What can we do for you?”, but “How can we assist you to utilize your own assets to solve your dilemma?”

Services at UCOM are not plucked from the air. We are not interested in the latest shiny project. Of the hundreds of ideas we receive every year from many sources, the ones we implement meet three criteria:

  1. Does this represent a bona fide lack of services?
  2. Does it fit our mission of providing basic material needs and educational support in our community?
  3. Do we have or can we find the human and financial resources to begin to solve this challenge?

Collaboration is key to everything that UCOM does. It is by working together with more than 50 churches and 65 local non-profits that we can stretch your generous giving to provide more than 40,000 food services a year; to tutor 120 children four days a week in 3 public schools; and to help 94% of the who came to us with major employment barriers last year to reach their goals. By leveraging the gifts and strengths of every willing heart in the community, we work together to make sure that people like Russ do not lose out in life because of the lack of $300.

UCOM can help, as we have in the community for the past 30 years, as long as you give of yourself from your heart. As we transition into a still more attuned agency--a greener, more sustainable organization--it is your direction and encouragement and generosity that keep the good work going full speed ahead.


#1 bruce matthews said:

Many thanks to Bruce Roller for inviting to take a tour of UCOM. From the moment I walked thru the door I experienced love in action. The staff at UCOM was so friendly and helpful. I was amazed by all the services UCOM offers people who are in need. We are all called to serve and its really is beautiful to see this in action. Christ gave us the example for us to follow when he met the needs of those he encountered. UCOM is meeting the need as well. There are times in life when we all may need a helping hand. Its good to be able to know where to turn. Blessings to UCOM. Thank you for letting me take advantage of your clothing pantry. Loving my winter coat, Thanks UCOM.

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