31 Days of Giving – Loaves and Fishes

by Char Brooks, J.D. Project Healthy Living Coach and Attorney

31 Days Stamp 3As part of ELM’s 31 Days of Giving, I had the opportunity to volunteer at Loaves and Fishes Ministries. Their mission is to provide emergency, as well as long term, transitional housing for men, women, and children in need. Part of their mission includes loving, serving, and empowering the poor.

I offered my time without being clear about what I was going to be doing.  To my surprise, I had the wonderful opportunity to pack gifts for the men, women, and children who were staying there based on many generous donations from the public.

The staff had huge beautiful bags to stuff with practical new items like mittens, hats, blankets, coats, sweatpants, and the like. Many of the children’s gifts were already wrapped and labelled which made it easier for the staff to hand out equally.

Char Loaves and Fishes  12-23-14 PictureI was grateful to have a chance to be one of Santa’s Elves (considering I’m Jewish and had never been in that role before!). Though there weren’t many of us there to stock the bags, we all worked together and got the job done well. Lots of organizing, laughter, and the joy of the season abounded.

The staff at Loaves and Fishes definitely has the best interest of their residents in mind. All of their service comes straight from the heart and is delivered in a caring and compassionate way.

As I left, the staff member asked me to please come back and volunteer anytime. It’s not always Christmas time and they can always use a hand. Homelessness affects all people for all different reasons and I am relieved that we have such a caring homeless shelter that provides much needed resources and advocacy to those in need.


Char Brooks is a Project Healthy Living Coach and Attorney with Elder Law of Michigan.  In January 2013, Char became employed at ELM as an attorney focusing her efforts on writing articles for the blog as well as working on internal communications.  Char holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Michigan State University, and graduated with her Juris Doctor from Thomas M. Cooley Law School over 30 years ago.  Prior to joining ELM, Char worked for Michigan Health and Hospital Association as an attorney representing 140 hospitals throughout the state of Michigan in unemployment compensation cases.  Char has also received her certification as a Life Coach in 2004. Char is now teaching Project Healthy Living Classes in mid-Michigan and continues writing in various capacities for Elder Law of Michigan.

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