This month, we recognize the Grand Ledge Emergency Assistance Program (GLEAP), a nonprofit organization working in the Grand Ledge Public School District (GLPS) to assist families with utility bills, transportation, food, medicine and housing needs. GLEAP’s mission is to provide short-term, emergency financial relief for families and individuals in need. They work to coordinate fundraising efforts and distribute funds generated by local schools, faith-based organizations, businesses and community-based service organizations. “GLEAP relies on the generosity of an amazing Grand Ledge community for financial support. We rely on community groups and individuals for fundraising and donations, such as Grand Ledge Rotary, Mudge’s Follies Variety Show and Capital City Car Club,” said Jeffrey Belding, acting chairperson of GLEAP. GLEAP celebrated its 30th year of service by holding a Volunteer Recognition Breakfast at Grand Ledge High School last November. At the breakfast, more than 30 volunteers were honored for their work in the Grand Ledge community. Former board members were also recognized, including two members who helped form the organization 30 years ago. All GLEAP board members are volunteers. GLEAP began as a loose conglomeration of local church members and clergy around Grand Ledge that recognized a need in the community. The group eventually became a full-fledged nonprofit organization. GLEAP works closely with other service organizations in the Grand Ledge School District, such as St. Vincent DePaul, G.L. Rotary, the Grand Ledge Food Bank, local churches and the Grand Ledge School District itself. All of the funding for the organization comes from grants, private donations, church contributions and community fundraisers. Past fundraisers for GLEAP have included the annual Mudge’s Follies Variety Show, Rotary Christmas Chili Cook-Off, FeedGL Annual GLPS Spring Food Drive and Capital City Car Show at the Color Cruise. In 2014, GLEAP, in conjunction with the Grand Ledge Food Bank, served more than 1,500 individuals, families and children in the district. GLEAP’s goals for 2015 include increasing its presence ok, and partnering more heavily with GLPS, increasing its revenue base, expanding service programs, increasing public visibility and increasing partnerships with local businesses. “One of our goals for 2015 is to create a partnership with Grand Ledge Public Schools to assist students who are homeless or are in need of winter gloves, school supplies, etc.,” stated Belding. For more information about GLEAP, visit gleap.net or call them at (517) 627-3256.
Kyle Dowling is an employee of M3 Group and is pursuing a writing degree at LCC. He enjoys fiction writing, video games and movies.