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Vista Charter Academy students jump for heart health

Vista Charter Academy students jump for heart health

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Hearts were pumping at Vista Charter Academy on Friday, and not just because it was Valentine’s Day.

Students from Young 5s all the way up to fifth grade jumped rope for heart health.  The children took part in a variety of other heart-healthy activities as well, including hula hooping, playing with beach balls and dancing.  The school also set a goal to collect $4,000 in pledges to donate to the American Heart Association this year.

Vista Charter Academy, operated by National Heritage Academies, is a free public charter school serving students in grades kindergarten through eighth.

Planned Parenthood marks Valentine's Eve with "condom drops"

Planned Parenthood marks Valentine's Eve with "condom drops"

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.---  On New Year’s Eve, Americans marked the holiday with ball drops; this Valentine’s Eve, Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan is marking the occasion with “condom drops”.

On Thursday, Feb. 13, teen and young adult volunteers from PPWNM will visit at least six Grand Rapids bars to conduct “condom drops”, distributing free condoms to patrons, along with “Safe Space” door hangers. Organizers say volunteers will visit Mulligans, Billy’s, Eastown Sports Bar, Pyramid Scheme, Stella’s and the Meanwhile Bar Thursday night to pass out condoms.  

PPWNM’s eight health centers are also participating in the National Condom Week campaign, distributing more than 3,000 free condoms altogether.

The organization says nearly 20 million sexually transmitted infections are reported each year, and condoms are the only form of contraception that also helps reduce the risk of STIs, while preventing most unintended pregnancies.

St. Matthew Lutheran Church says "no" to hunger

St. Matthew Lutheran Church says "no" to hunger

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- On Saturday, Feb. 8, the new gymnasium and multipurpose room at St. Matthew Lutheran Church was filled with the laughter of children for the first time during a Kids Against Hunger food packing event.

In all, 120 volunteers from the congregation and community packaged 11,376 meals for hungry children and their families.  Of the meals packaged, 3,456 went to the John Knox food pantry on Kalamazoo Avenue in Grand Rapids.  The remaining meals will go to third world countries in dire need and those devastated by a natural disaster.

St. Matthew and Thrivent Financial Services provided the funding for the event.   Kids Against Hunger – Grand Rapids delivered all the equipment, food, packing materials and tables.  Chuck Bailey, director for KAH-Grand Rapids trained the volunteers and managed the event.  They started setting up at 7:30 a.m.

Extreme winter conditions cut into blood donations

Extreme winter conditions cut into blood donations

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The recent winter storms and extremely cold temperatures are taking a toll on donations to the American Red Cross.

The organization says more than 7070 blood drives were cancelled last month because of the weather—leading to a loss of more than 25,000 blood and platelet donations. On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood each day to supply medical centers. 

“While thousands of people from across the country responded to the call for blood and platelet donations issued by the Red Cross in January, there continues to be an urgent need for blood donors with type O, especially type O negative,” said Todd Kulman, communications program manager for the Great Lakes Blood Services Region.

Kulman says the recent uptick in cold and flu cases is also taking a toll on blood donations.   Community members are encouraged to donate blood at one of the following drives:

  • Feb. 4, 12 p.m.

Vote for Wine & Wig gala funding recipient

Vote for Wine & Wig gala funding recipient

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-  West Michigan Woman magazine is looking for the next organization to support during its second annual Wine & Wig gala.

Last year, the event generated nearly $15,000 for Susan G. Komen West Michigan.  This year, supporters are being asked to narrow down six organizations nominated for support down to one winner.  The finalists are Children’s Assessment Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids , Baxter Community Center, American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women, Susan G. Komen West Michigan and Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW).

Voting is open until midnight Feb. 14, 2014, and visitors can vote as often as they like.  To cast your vote, visit West Michigan Woman magazine’s website here.

The Wine & Wig gala will take place Oct. 18, 2014 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Volunteers invited to package 10,000 meals Feb. 8

Volunteers invited to package 10,000 meals Feb. 8

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- On Feb. 8, Kids Against Hunger – Grand Rapids will come together with about 100 community volunteers to package 10,000 meals for hungry children and their families.

The event will take place at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, located at 5125 Cascade Road in Grand Rapids. The public is invited to join the effort  or cheer on volunteers between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. This event has been made possible through fundraising by St. Matthew Lutheran Church and sponsorship from Thrivent Financial.

With 26 community based events last year, Kids Against Hunger is a productive contributor in the fight to end world hunger. The organization helped feed more than 1,380,000 starving children in 2013 alone.

The meals packaged Saturday will be equally distributed for disaster relief,  third world countries in dire need and local food pantries, including Kids' Food Basket and the John Knox Food Pantry

New community center opens to the public Jan. 18

New community center opens to the public Jan. 18

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.—  A new community center will officially open to the public this Saturday, Jan. 18.

The York Creek Community Center is located at 3999 Alpenhorn Dr. NW.  The center services as a meeting place where local organizations can provide a variety of classes, programs and community events, free of charge.

The new facility features meeting rooms, a common area, a kitchen and a computer room equipped with 10 computers. The center is provided by York Creek Apartments but all classes and programs are run by partner organizations, including: