LaFleur Gives Back with Dégagé Ministries, Humane Society of West Michigan

LaFleur believes in investing in our community, both as a business and as a neighbor. This winter, we had the honor of lending our many hands to our friends at Dégagé Ministries and the Humane Society of West Michigan.

January Volunteering With Dégagé Ministries

LaFleur volunteer day DegageOur office sits just a few blocks away from Dégagé Ministries, a nonprofit in Grand Rapids that focuses on serving homeless and low-income people in downtown Grand Rapids. Their mission is to offer help and hope to individuals experiencing homelessness by providing food, shelter, and hygiene products. Our job was to support them in whatever way we could.

The homelessness crisis in Grand Rapids might not be as evident as in larger cities, but it remains a persistent, systemic issue. Every day, 400 to 500 people visit Dégagé for shelter, food, and hygiene products. According to the Grand Rapids Coalition to End Homelessness, approximately 700 to 800 people in Grand Rapids find themselves homeless on any given night. Last year, there were over 3,500 individuals in Grand Rapids who were considered homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless. However, we know that this number is likely much higher, as many people who are housing insecure — including children and youth — slip through the cracks and never get counted.

Working Behind the Scenes

After a brief tour and orientation with Holly Kammel, the organization’s volunteer coordinator, the LaFleur team got down to work. Our work that day focused on taking care of the more mundane daily tasks that are critical to the organization but time-consuming to do.

Over the next few hours, we sorted donations, folded pillowcases, and even helped stuff appeal letters. Dégagé is community-supported, and they receive a high volume of donated items every day — necessities that need to be carefully sorted so staff can quickly access the supplies as they need them.

It wasn’t glamorous work, but glamor isn’t our goal. We volunteer to support amazing organizations doing the work to make our community better. And if that means hanging out in a basement storage room and sorting through bottles of shampoo, then we’re happy to do it.

RELATED: LaFleur Serves Dinner to Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids Members

February Volunteering with the Humane Society of West Michigan

LaFleur staff enjoy petting a dog.In case you didn’t know already, we love pets here at LaFleur. Many of us have cats and dogs whom we love. A few of us are partial to rabbits. Basically, if it has four legs and fur, we’re on board for pets, playtime, and snuggles. So when it came time to choose our February volunteering location, the Humane Society of West Michigan was a no-brainer.

LaFleur recently adopted four meeting rooms at the Humane Society; prospective pet owners use these rooms to meet the animals they want to adopt. However, since these rooms are extremely high-traffic areas, they needed a good deep cleaning. So, we got to work scrubbing all the corners and cracks, making sure these rooms are safe, welcoming, and comfortable for the pets and their people.

LaFleur volunteer day at Humane Society“We couldn’t do what we do for the animals here at Humane Society of West Michigan without the support of groups like LaFleur,” Humane Society Outreach Coordinator Julie Townsend told us after our visit. “Deep cleaning and painting just never get done when time is short. We are so grateful for [LaFleur’s] support with the new Adopt-A-Room [program] and the commitment to our consult rooms.”

Because we’re committed to the Humane Society and its mission, we’ll be back in April to update these meeting rooms with fresh coats of paint. So, a pre-emptive deep clean was just what the vet ordered.

Playtime With the Animals of the Humane Society

We finished our work an hour ahead of schedule, which meant more playtime with some of the animals. We met a tiny pair of kitten brothers named Blizzard and Snow who were eager to jump around chasing after feather wands. We also spent quality time playing fetch and giving out vigorous scratches with Thunder the Great Dane, Anna Grace the pit bull mix, and Cece the terrier mix. Did we want to adopt every dog we played with? Yes. Could we take them home with us? Sadly, no. Have we ruled out adopting more animals among our team? Not nearly.

LaFleur Volunteer Day Humane Society Kitten Time

Why We’re Committed to the Humane Society

What we love about the Humane Society is their devotion to comprehensive, compassionate care. The Humane Society’s expert staff lovingly rehabilitate pets with expensive medical needs so they can find these animals forever home, no matter how long it takes. They operate a no-kill shelter and take great pride in their devotion to the animals that come through their doors.

LaFleur volunteer day humane societyWe were grateful for the opportunity to witness the passionate staff and regular volunteers in action, from on-site behavioral specialists, veterinarians, and dog-walkers alike. All this hard work is worth it: last year, 4,050 animals found forever homes through the West Michigan Humane Society!

At LaFleur Marketing, Giving Back to Our Community Is a Priority

Want to learn more about working with LaFleur to develop or improve your marketing efforts? Please contact us by calling (888) 222-1512 or completing this brief contact form. Or, if you’re a West Michigan nonprofit and you’d like to be considered as a location for one of our monthly volunteering efforts, email Sarah LaFleur at [email protected] and let us know who you are and how you think we can help. We’d love to hear from you!

amy h

Amy Hinman is the social and paid media editor at LaFleur, where she crafts content, paid media, and social media strategies for highly regulated industries. She graduated with honors from Grand Valley State University, earning a degree in writing and Spanish. Amy is active in the literary community and is an avid gardener and cyclist.