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Tri-City Community Cares


We Accept Donations

Through the GHAPS Homeless Services, you can donate money, gift cards, food, clothes, and other basic living staples to help the ever growing population of homeless teens in the Grand Haven area. Donations may be delivered to Sarah Elliot at the Education Services Center, 1415 S. Beechtree Street, in Grand Haven, MI, Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm.

Aid Goes Directly To Recipients

Whatever aid you donate – money, gift cards, food, clothing, blankets, etc. – it all goes directly to the recipients so they benefit fully from your generosity.

The Problem

A few years ago, Grand Haven was declared “The Happiest Seaside Community”, and there are many reasons to celebrate that. We are blessed with beautiful beaches, water, parks, shops, and a bustling tourist season. What does not appear on the glossy cover of a magazine featuring Grand Haven is what the socio-economic disparity looks like here. One family is toasty warm in their North Face ski gear, while they lace up their Burton Snowboard bindings, getting ready to hit the slopes on a vacation Up North. Another family is finding temporary residence in a hotel because the mom suffered an illness with a loss of work (and pay). To add to the stress, snow flew early this year, so their elementary-aged children already need coats and snow boots. Sadly, their oldest, a high schooler, has decided to lessen his cost burden on the family and tries to stay with friends and contribute money from his part-time job, when he can. This is just one example of how homelessness happens in Grand Haven.

Many people are surprised to learn that we have an ever-growing homeless population in Grand Haven. With the increasing needs for Back-to-School supplies, Love In Action shared that they found themselves serving more clients than ever before in July of 2019. Sarah Elliott, GHAPS Homeless Services Coordinator, reports that the need is greater than ever this year. In addition to the students, who already fall in the homeless category from last school year, she has added 100+ students to her homeless students roster. The trend toward homelessness is not getting better. It is getting worse.

The Solution



Know that every dollar goes directly to helping Tri-Cities families & individuals in their time of need.


Reach out to us for ways you can get involved or to donate.

Sarah Elliott

Sarah is the Homeless & Foster Care Liason for Grand Haven Area Public Schools. She has a passion for helping others, especially teens who are homeless or become homeless during the school year to ensure they have the support and care they need to continue their education in a very unsettling time. She came on board in 2017 as the GHAPS liaison and connected with Steven and his efforts through Community Care For Teens. She is tireless in her efforts to help homeless teens get the support they need to survive and succeed.

Wendy Deaton

A stay at home mom with three kids, Wendy has a love for helping others. She was part of Steven’s ‘Pay It Forward’ Project six years ago, and when she learned of the large homeless teen population in Grand Haven, she decided she had to get involved. She connected with Sarah Elliot, the GHAPS Homeless and Foster Care Liaison and has been helping to bring aid, comfort, and support to homeless teens in the Grand Haven area ever since.

Steven VanderWerp

Several years ago, Steven was given a $20 bill with the challenge to ‘Pay It Forward’ and find a way to help someone in need. Through his efforts and the help of many generous people, Steven turned that $20 bill into $1000 and then $5000. His efforts gave rise to the Community Care for Teens program which sponsored 45 teens last year and raised $7500. His passion is helping teens during the most challenging and crucial period of their lives and help them survive and succeed.