Bruce's Blog


Investing in People

October 23rd, 2017

Our goal at UCOM is to help our neighbors to capitalize on their assets to create a healthier, more economically stable community.

Eating healthy, living healthy

Your donations to UCOM create pathways for our neighbors to get nutritious food. This improves their health—preventing childhood obesity, helping to control diabetes and hypertension, and giving proper nutrition that improves brain function.

Not all food is created equal. Preventing hunger is not sufficient. Your gifts to UCOM make it possible for our neighbors to access the kind of fresh, nutritious foods that we all need to stay healthy and lead happier, more productive lives.

As UCOM moves even further beyond being “just a food pantry”, our neighbors can also purchase locally grown, farm-fresh food from our Farm Stand. Using cash, SNAP benefits, Senior Project Fresh coupons and other benefits, people with low income can buy fresh Michigan produce for half the price they would pay at farmers’ markets.

Your giving to UCOM does not just provide good food for those who otherwise may not be able to afford it. Together we go further. We educate and motivate our neighbors with cooking and nutrition classes and exercise sessions for people whose age, economic situation, health conditions, or mobility issues might prevent their being involved in other community programs.

Your generosity makes possible 80 garden plots for our neighbors’ use. The “kit” we provide includes raised bed gardens, soil, seeds or plants, canning and freezing classes, and informational sessions with local farmers and gardeners, as well as the opportunity to share their own growing tips and experiences with one another at monthly pot-luck gatherings.

Ready to work

Just as access to good food is a key to healthy living, being able to make a living is fundamental to self-confidence and self-reliance in our culture. Your giving to UCOM’s workforce development component is multiplied exponentially—like the Biblical story of loaves and fish. Through the Employment Services Collaborative, UCOM works with six other agency partners to provide job coaching, employment system navigation and financial skills training to hundreds of people in our community.

Whether we are working with people who are unemployed or under-employed, our ultimate goal is the same—helping people to meet their goals that lead to a stable life and a bright economic future.

One-to-one coaching, relationship building, networking and referrals to collaborative partners mean that many other people with whom we work find the training and job opportunities that are right for them. With the skilled help of the Collaborative, people come to the place that they no longer need to rely on community resources, but provide for themselves and their families through meaningful, productive, satisfying work.

Special thanks to Heart of West Michigan United Way Community Impact Fund for significant funding of both collaboratives.

Next month’s blog will take a look at WHY UCOM does what we do—the mission behind the mission statement.


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