Lake County organizations put Great Lakes Energy People Fund grants to work

Volunteers at Bread of Life Food Pantry work each week to make sure local families have food. The money awarded through the GLE People Fund helps keep the shelves stocked. Pictured left to right is director Lynne Mills, shopper Marianne Cooke and volunteer Sandy Dode. 

Volunteers at Bread of Life Food Pantry work each week to make sure local families have food. The money awarded through the GLE People Fund helps keep the shelves stocked. Pictured left to right is director Lynne Mills, shopper Marianne Cooke and volunteer Sandy Dode. 

Star photo/Shanna Avery

LAKE COUNTY — With more than $144,000 in the first round of grants disbursed in 2022 to 61 nonprofit organizations in the local area, recipients of the Great Lakes Energy People Fund in Lake County are putting the money to good use.

When it comes to building homes for families, those at Habitat for Humanity are grateful for $2,500 towards home construction, contingent on raising the rest of the funding needed.

"We really appreciate the grant money," Lake County Habitat For Humanity Director Denise Suttles said. "This will help supplement our "Field of Dreams" project — eight single-family homes in Webber Township."

Suttles also gave a shout-out to volunteers helping projects come together, such as recent work from a team at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Grand Rapids, as well as Team Rubicon.

Bread of Life Food Pantry in Baldwin was given $2,000 for food and supplies for the greater-Lake County area, which pantry director Lynne Mills said there is an ever-increasing need.

"We are very appreciative because  we are always in need of funds to purchase food. The families using the pantry increase every week. We've been getting more than 115, up to 137 families," Mills said. "This helps keep our shelves stocked and purchase more food from Feeding America at a discounted price to stretch our inventory."

County youth also will benefit with $2,000 toward PoWeR! Book Bags out of Suttons Bay, to provide new books and book bags to promote language skills, writing and creativity for  children through Head Start, Baldwin Community Schools and programs through District Health Department No. 10.

Also, thanks to $2,500 in grant money, new firefighters who belong to Carr Community Volunteer Fire Department in Branch will have new turnout gear.

“It’s exciting to see the People Fund continue to build on its past success in supporting the many organizations who are making a real difference in their communities,” Great Lakes Energy President/CEO Shaun Lamp said. “The People Fund owes this success to the outstanding support and generosity of our members spanning more than 20 years.”

Funding for the program comes from customers of GLE who agree to have their monthly bills rounded up to the next whole dollar.

Cooperative members also have the opportunity to increase their contributions to the People Fund through People Fund PLUS to choose an amount, in addition to the monthly bill round-up, to contribute to the program.

Grants are awarded twice each year by three independent regional boards representing the cooperative’s north, central, and south regions. Lake County is part of the central region.

The Great Lakes Energy People Fund is accepting applications from local nonprofit organizations for the 2022 grant cycle with the deadline for letters of intent due Oct. 1 and grant applications by Oct. 15.

Visit gtlakes.com/people-fund/ for more information on the program or to apply.