For many of us, certain causes and charities are close to our hearts. For Lansing-native Catrice Lane, that special nonprofit is Volunteers of America. She has been involved with the group’s North Larch Street location since 2014; first helping in the community kitchen and now offering financial support.
“My love for Lansing has increased considerably through my connection to the nonprofits that are here,” said Lane. This is the soul of the city; when people open their hearts, and give of themselves to assist others during a vulnerable time.”
Lane first became involved with the organization on a volunteer night and was moved by the genuine thoughtfulness and care of the staff.
“Everyone I’ve met on staff recognizes that their job is making a difference and improving the community,” said Lane. “It was inspiring to see all the volunteers excited to be serving dinner and the clients that came in for the meal were some of the most gracious and kind people I have ever met.”
One thing Lane emphasizes is that in any relationship with a nonprofit there is the “transaction of trust.” She describes this as the idea when you are supporting a cause, there is an inherent level of trust given to a charity.
“It’s a great relationship because not only can you be passionate about the mission, but you can meet those who are benefitting from it,” explained Lane. “And, when I say people who benefit, I’m not talking just about those who are struggling and coming for a meal. It’s also those who are volunteering and finding the work and relationships very rewarding.”
In a city with a 17 percent poverty rate, the problem is more prevalent than some realize. One of the mission’s main goals is to provide veterans and those who are displaced with support beyond food and shelter. Lane was first aware of the many services Volunteers of America offered when she took a tour of the facility.
“[On the tour] I was introduced to how thoughtful the staff is and how they treat everyone with dignity,” mentioned Lane. “They make sure that there are alternatives for parents who have opposite sex children and need to stay together. They have a storage area for those who are displaced and have no place to store their possessions. They also offer an address so folks can receive mail and complete applications that require a residence to be listed.”
There are many organizations in the Lansing community combatting homelessness and poverty, but for Lane, it is crucial to find a nonprofit that can “make people feel loved, cared for and important no matter what walk of life they come from.”