Congratulations on winning the Stories of Change Grant! Can you tell everyone about your organization’s mission?
The mission of Grace’s Table is to walk alongside teen moms from isolation to community and support them as they reach their full potential.
What’s the story behind your organization? How did you get started? What inspired you?
Our Founder, Lisa Anderson, was a teen mother who navigated homelessness on her journey to stability. During her early years of motherhood, she experienced isolation and loneliness and longed for a better life for her and her son, but realized that if she was experiencing this that there must be other girls who were struggling as well. It became a prayer of hers to one day provide support and community for girls who found themselves experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. After years of finding her way, Lisa found herself in a great career, but the deeper desire she had was to launch a community she had prayed about for so many years. In 2013, she purchased a home in Grand Rapids and began inviting teen mothers to join her for dinner and community. It was one step toward what we now know as Grace’s Table.
Has this mission changed or grown over the years, and if so, how so?
Our mission has always been community-focused for teen mothers ages 13-24. However, while the vision was much bigger than where Lisa started, she has continued to grow Grace’s Table from a plate of spaghetti on a Friday night to a program that offers community, education, and forward movement for moms. We are in the midst of a campaign that will establish our first long-term living home for teen mothers and their children. We are thrilled that the Stories of Change grant is partnering with us to bring this into existence.
One of my daughters was a teen mom to two beautiful twin girls. Although I love them all very much, an organization like yours would have helped navigate that transition. What are some of the ways you support young moms?
First and foremost, we see each mom as an individual and see her where she is in her journey. Becoming a mom at a young age can be scary and uncertain. Grace’s Table is a place to land where you are welcomed with open arms. Tending to the specific needs of each mom is really important. Once we get to know her, we have a wealth of opportunities to invite her into and help her connect with so that she is well supported and has what she needs to step into her new role as a mother while also continuing her journey in adolescent maturation. We support our moms by giving them a space to find support and resources regarding every aspect of a mother’s life. We focus our support around spiritual exploration, parenting play, adolescent transitions, career confidence, and education investment. We have multiple resources which showcase these ideas, including weekly programs, which are lessons and conversations based on a theme and area of growth. We also provide moms with occasional meet-ups that allow them to gather and grow in an area of their life. Grace’s Table also has connections with many organizations within the community that we can guide our moms to if they may need outside resources.
That sounds amazing! Are there any special accomplishments by your organization you would like to highlight?
By Q2 of 2020, in the midst of a pandemic with a very small team, Grace’s Table was able to support a 220% influx of families and provide the excellent standard of care with increased support as was necessary as a result of the pandemic. Additionally, we were able to provide more than 20,000 nutritious meals, 60,000+ diapers, and over 300 Hope and Hygiene Kits to teen moms around the West Michigan area during this unprecedented year.
Congratulations on that! And once again, congratulations on winning the Stories of Change Grant. What do you plan on using the grant for?
Grace’s Table plans on using the grant to further our goals and mission in the recent purchase of our first home. We are working to provide long-term housing for moms through our Space for Grace campaign.
For everyone reading, what are some easy ways they can help with your cause, both monetary and in other ways?
Our community has the most amazing group of individuals who champion our mission. No matter where you are located in the United States, you too can bring your talents to the table. We rely on our community to share our mission in their circles of connection. We invite you to follow us on Instagram or Facebook at @aroundgracestable and would love to connect with you to see how your unique talents and passions can advance the mission to bring support to teen moms in Grand Rapids, MI, and beyond. You’ll want to follow along as we grow, and hopefully, with your help, we will be in your city in the near future! Your generous donations fuel the work we offer and can be made easily and securely online at www.gracestable.com/donors or by mail: Grace’s Table PO BOX 141432, Grand Rapids, MI 49514.
Finally, can you share what to look out for in the near future from Grace’s Table, if there are any special events that we should know about, and how we can support the organization?
Over the next year, we are establishing the housing program, and we look forward to opening our doors to this housing opportunity in 2022. You can learn more by visiting us at https://space.gracestable.com. Please visit our website for upcoming events www.gracestable.com.
Thank you so much for this, and for taking the time and effort to take part in the grant, and most importantly, for the important work you do for your community.