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My Town: Heart of West Michigan United Way awards $3.3 million in community grants

My Town: Heart of West Michigan United Way awards $3.3 million in community grants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—More than three dozen organizations and agencies helping people get back on their feet are getting millions of dollars in support.

The Heart of West Michigan United Way awarded $3.3 million in grants to 39 agencies that reach out to the community-from offering home-delivered meals to senior to after school care.

 “We value our partnership and believe a community that takes care of its friends and neighbors is a good place to live. By investing in the basic needs of the community, we are working together to help the people that are the most in need,” says Maureen Noe, president and CEO of Heart of West Michigan United Way.  “If people have their basic needs met, such as food, shelter and a safe home situation, they are able to focus on the future and take the next steps to improving their lives. “

This year’s grant recipients are: 

My Town: Health phone survey in Kent County largest of its kind in the world

My Town: Health phone survey in Kent County largest of its kind in the world

GRAND RAPIDS – Starting this week, people in Kent County will be receiving letters and phone calls asking families to take part in the 2014 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

This health survey is the largest-conducted telephone survey in the world. The survey will help the KCHD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track critical health issues, as well as creating and evaluating public health programs in Kent County. Issues and Answers, a phone marketing research firm, will be conducting the survey on behalf of the Kent County Health Department (KCHD).

My Town Lowell: Pink Arrow Community Day to return July 29

My Town Lowell: Pink Arrow Community Day to return July 29

LOWELL, Mich.—The date is set for the return of Pink Arrow Community Day.

The celebration hosted by Gilda’s Club of Lowell will take place July 29.  Pink Arrow Community Day gives community members their first chance to purchase Pink Arrow t-shirts for 2014.  Visitors can also take part in a health fair and blood drive and enjoy kids’ activites and food.

The Quiver 5K Run and Family Walk will kick off at 7 p.m.  For additional information, visit the event page here.

My Town: Chamber releases 2014 Lowell Riverwalk Festival schedule

My Town: Chamber releases 2014 Lowell Riverwalk Festival schedule

LOWELL, Mich.-- The Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce is releasing the complete schedule for the Riverwalk Festival, which returns July 10.

The celebration will run two nights and one day.  This year, organizers are marking the festival's 20th anniversary by bringing back the pig roast Thursday night and offering a limited edition festival t-shirt.  The duck race has been replaced with the State Farm Duck Raffle, and organizers have added a Rotary Float-in on Friday night.  The entire schedule is as follows: 

Caught Being Safe program launches statewide

Michigan State Police, local law enforcement and Michigan’s Field Neurosciences Institute have teamed up with McDonald’s of Michigan to once again launch “Caught Being Safe,” a statewide bicycle/scooter helmet safety program. Kids wearing helmets and “caught being safe” by participating law enforcement officials will treated to a free ice cream cone or Apple Dippers at McDonald’s. 

According to the Field Neurosciences Institute (of Michigan): “Caught Being Safe! has shown a significant increase in both helmet utilization and public awareness regarding the critical importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. This program has impacted not only children but adults as well.” 

My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

School is out, leaving many children from low-income families without meals during the summer months.

That’s where the Michigan Department of Education’s Summer Food Service program comes in. The program provides nutritious meals to people 18 years of age or younger for free.  All participants need to do is show up.

There are hundreds of participating locations, including places in Walker, Grand Rapids North, Grand Rapids West, Grand Rapids South, Grand Rapids Central, Grandville, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Kentwood, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Montague and Greenville. You can find the full list on the state website here.

My Town: Check out a Book Buddy at your local library

My Town: Check out a Book Buddy at your local library

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Firemen, ballerinas, mascots, sports figures, literary characters and more will be at local library branches on June 21 to get kids reading!

Kent District Library, Grand Rapids Public Library and the Heart of West Michigan United Way are joining forces to present Book Buddies, a program that encourages children to check out a “book buddy” and spend ten minutes reading their favorite book together.

The Book Buddies program is designed to help children meet the goal of reading 400 minutes over the summer, the amount of time it is estimated that kids should spend reading to prevent summer slide and maintain the reading gains they made over the school year.

Seven local library branches will present Book Buddies on June 21. The schedule is as follows: