Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Forward!

New Name, Same Direction! 
We have some exciting news to share with you!  Following much thought and careful consideration, we are changing our name from NCCS to TrueNorth Community Services.  Since 1972, NCCS, or Newaygo County Community Services, has been motivated by a firm commitment to making a lasting difference in the lives of our people throughout the rural communities we serve. 

As NCCS (Newaygo County Community Services), we were often confused with county, state, or similarly named organizations, which detracted from our ability to serve.  As the communities’ crossroads, we believe TrueNorth Community Services accurately reflects the spirit and strength of our organization, while also supporting our mission, eliminating confusion and offering a hint at our geographic presence.

Of course, we are still firmly rooted in Newaygo County.  However, trends toward regionalization and consolidation of resources have strongly impacted our funding and our service area now radiates beyond our former boundaries to ensure access to increased funding for Newaygo County.  Our path may be wider, but now, as always, our direction is clear.

You can find us online at, along with our Facebook page - TrueNorth Community Services, and Twitter – TrueNorth_CS. You can still contact us directly at (231) 924-0641 or via email at  We welcome an opportunity to talk with you personally and present to your organization or group.

Heat and Energy Needs
The state of our economy is a sobering reality at TrueNorth Community Services.  We  are working tirelessly to find ways to keep our families, our children and our senior citizens safe and warm.  Even though it is officially Spring, this year Michigan has provided us with a lingering and very cold winter.

We distribute a monthly allocation of heat and energy funds to help to our families in need beginning the first day of every month.  On April 1 we helped 79 families with shut off notices with heat and energy assistance totaling over $48,000.  We were unable to serve an additional 30+ families due to lack of funding.  At the close of the day on April 1, TrueNorth was out of funding for the month of April.

This new reality indicates the need for increased funding and  new innovation in service delivery, one that TrueNorth is working to address wherever possible.  Please do check on your neighbors who may need assistance especially our isolated elderly shut-ins.

Weatherization Impact –
The primary goal of our weatherization program is to provide services to low income homeowners who will experience  a significant reduction in their energy consumption once the work is completed on their home.   TrueNorth follows each families energy savings to assess the impact of the program.  In 2009, the average saving per household was 15.3% in electric and 20.2%  in heat consumption.   A 35% reduction in energy costs makes a significant impact in our families finances.  In 2010, we invested $859,000 in homeowner weatherization improvements utilizing all local contractors.

The weatherization program is just one of the pro-active approaches we are taking to help move our families toward self-sufficiency by providing a safe and warm home, reduce energy consumption and provide a more sustainable household budget through reduced fuel costs.  What a fantastic program for our homeowners, our local contractors and our communities!

Plant a Row for Hunger
Planning your garden and getting your seed order ready to mail?  What about planting an extra row?  Getting your deck planters ready?  How about filling one more with tomatoes for the hungry?  We hope you will share  a bit of your gardening expertise to bring healthy, home grown fruits and veggies to the food pantry.  Although summer should mean hunger needs lighten, it is one of our highest utilization times in our pantry because our kids are home on summer break and do not receive breakfast and lunch at school.  Gardeners – we thank you!

Warm Hearts Blankets
In order to help our families stay warm this winter we kicked off a new initiative – Warm Hearts Blanket Bee.  The first 22 warm fleece blankets have been distributed and each one was a treasured gift in a troubled time for families in crisis.  As one of our homeless caseworkers put it – “Aaron, three years old and homeless, only understood that things were not right, that he was not safe and not warm.  The one thing I gave this child that was right was a new fleece blanket covered in Disney characters.  He ran to his new room in the homeless shelter and hugged and hugged his blanket and throughout my time at the shelter with his family he never let go of it.  It was comforting, warm, secure, soothing and it was his!”  Join us in bringing the small touches of warmth and comfort to those in need as well as addressing the significant issues of homelessness, hunger, and poverty.  It is a phenomenal feeling to give to those in need!

Project Literacy –
Giving a person the ability to read provides a lifelong gift of possibilities and a much brighter future.  Our Project Literacy Volunteer Tutors work one-on-one with adult low-level learners, working side by side to help move our learners toward their goals of reading fluency.  With 6 learner/tutor matches actively working together  there are bright futures happening each day.  If you are looking for meaningful volunteer work please call today for training and make a difference.  We anticipate 20 new low-level learners in September.

"Be the change that you want to see in the world!"  - Mohandas Gandhi     

Best Regards,