Community is invited to baby shower that will benefit Family Promise


Executive Director Marian McDermed at the Lakeside facility opening in 2016.

(File photos by Donna Schillaci)

By Cynthia Price

A baby shower for a non-profit agency?

Makes sense when the agency is Family Promise of the Lakeshore, which offers counseling, services, and one-on-one assistance to families who would otherwise be homeless. The parents and children come to a day center in Lakeside that resulted from the generous gift of a facility when Lakeside United Methodist Church merged with Lake Harbor Methodist and left its building vacant.

At 5:00, families leave the center and stay the night at one of  the area’s 12 host churches, supported by volunteers, including those from 12 other churches, and Family Promise staff.

The families return in the morning, and after school-age children leave for school, parents learn about budgeting, tenant rights, nutrition, parenting, and other life skills while getting assistance to find permanent housing and employment, among other skills development.

Muskegon Elks Lodge #274 saw a need at the day center for the younger kids, so it is throwing them a Community Baby Shower on Feb. 15 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at Family Promise (2160 Crozier Ave. in Lakeside.)

According to Greg Parrish, Exalted Ruler of the Elks Lodge, the purpose of the event is twofold: to allow for community donations to add to the baby and toddler items the Elks have already collected; and to get the word out about Family Promise.

“What a phenomenal organization it is,” said Parrish. “People are welcome to come and contribute to the kids’ needs, but we also want people to become more aware of what a great job Family Promise is doing out there.”

The Elks initiative will provide baby diapers and other baby/toddler personal needs products, and so far they have collected over $1,300 worth.

Parrish points out that it is also a “beneficial” literacy project, with Lodge members coming on-site the day before, Feb. 14, to read to the children, giving them three books to keep.

Elks members will also meet with Executive Director Marian McDermed on Feb. 14, to discuss how they can be of service to Family Promise of the Lakeshore, which is part of a larger national network. (See The Lakeshore affiliate, founded in 2009, covers Muskegon County and Northern Ottawa.

“We’re so excited about this baby shower,” McDermed says. “Already it’s like a wall of diapers!”

Parrish acknowledges that there is great need in the area, and says that expansion of the program might possibly be something the Elks will look at helping with in the future.


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