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Michigan Insurance Blog

Independence Day: Family, Fun and Fireworks!

We’re headed into one of the most celebrated holidays in America, Independence Day! While this is an excellent weekend for fun and family time, we tend to put safety towards the bottom of our priority list. We’ll have more fun when there are fewer injuries!

 We’ll all be grilling and spend every second outside in the fresh, warm air, with our families. Grilling is a wonderful thing, not only is it delicious, but it’s cooking in the great outdoors!

Sparkler Just a couple quick grilling tips for the weekend:

1. Never leave a grill unattended once it’s lit and/or hot. Even though parents will be watching their children, it only takes a hot second for them to wander over and let their curious hands get the best of them. This could also cause a fire if it’s too close to a home, tree, or porch. So be cautious of where we keep our burning coals!

2. Never throw water on a grease fire. Water can make the fire bigger and hotter by feeding it. Use baking soda instead, to dry it up and dehydrate the flames.

This weekend is also a miracle because the holiday happens to fall on a Tuesday, giving most people a 4 day weekend. While everyone over the age of 21 is a responsible drinker, we want to be sure that we are still getting enough water to stay fully hydrated. Being outside for long periods of time, in the heat and sun, is enough to dry up a person on its own. When alcohol factors in, the possibilities for dehydration can become endless. You’ll want to be sure to drink plenty of H2O and watch for signs of a headache or dizziness. If you start to experience those, head for a glass of water and a shady place to rest up.

Alcohol can also impair judgment around bodies of water. While Michigan is fortunate for having so many lakes, we may get too comfortable around them. We need to be sure to be alert and watch the children especially. Even if a child is a wonderful swimmer, the one next to them might not be. Keep an eye out and make sure we’re appropriately prepped for a day at the beach. Lifejackets, umbrellas, and bright swimsuits will only do good things!

Fireworks are the highlight of this time of year! When using fireworks we’ll want to be sure to have good judgment and use caution. Here are some easy rules to follow and ensure a wonderful evening with family:

1.       Read and follow the directions on the fireworks carefully.

2.       Keep a large display site of at least 100 ft. by 100 ft. and be sure that there are no trees, buildings, or hydro lines in this area.

3.       Never light the fireworks while holding them!

4.       Be sure that it isn’t windy or rough weather of any kind.

5.       Always have water nearby in case of emergency.

6.       A good platform for lighting fireworks is a bucket filled with sand (unless the directions say otherwise). Fireworks should be buried half their length in the sand and angled 10           degrees away from the audience. Make sure no one is upwind from the display!

7.       Children should be monitored at all times during the firework show. They tend to be attracted to exciting things (such as fireworks) so keep an eye on them!

8.       When finished, soak the fireworks in water before throwing in the trash can. Failure to do so could start a fire and we don’t want that! Even if they look fine, soak them just to be     safe. 

9.       Wear eye protection when lighting the fireworks. Be sure NOT to wear loose fitting clothing. Scarves and other things that may dangle when lighting fireworks, are something     you’re going to want to remove those items prior to lighting anything (this includes long hair being pulled back, ladies! We do NOT want our hair on fire).



Lastly, if you’re looking for family fun and festivities this weekend, here’s a short list of places in the Grand Rapids area that include fireworks!Firework!

On July 1st the Amway Family Fireworks kicks off at 5 pm at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in Grand Rapids. This includes family activities, food trucks, vendors, and live bands. Fireworks will start at 10:30.

On July 3rd, Portland High School will have fireworks at dusk with a parade to follow the next morning and 10 am.

On July 4th, Crestwood Middle School (2674 44th St. in Kentwood), will host day-long festivities, 5K, parade, carnival rides, games, inflatables, and more. Fireworks are at dusk.

On July 4th. Ada Christian School (6206 Ada Drive) with have a daytime book sale and parade prior to the evening display of fireworks. Fireworks start at dusk.

On July 4th at 3535 Wilson Ave Southwest, there’s a 3-day celebration ending with fireworks outside the Grandville middle school. Fireworks will start at dusk.

On July 4th, Kollen Park & Heinz Waterfront Walkway (240 Kollen Park Drive, Holland) there will be music, food and games beginning at 2 pm. Fireworks will start at 10 pm.

Mel Trotter Ministries


One of our partners is the Mel Trotter Ministries, and we are so excited to talk about how they’ve changed the community of Grand Rapids! Mel Trotter is dedicated to demonstrating the compassion of Jesus Christ to the hungry, homeless and hurting of the greater Grand Rapids area. They’re constantly expanding as the need is never ending. Right now, Mel Trotter is focusing on two areas: rescue and restoration. They use these to help the homeless and hurting in the Grand Rapids area and bring safety to them. This encourages a positive, caring and helpful atmosphere for all of us. Mel Trotter Ministries focuses on bringing hope to the community and those in need.

Hope BoardRescue Programs and Services

They have a day center for the homeless, giving them a comforting place to go and be welcomed by friendly faces. Here, they have access to resources they need to find homes and jobs. Not only does this provide shelter but also works to give them hope of a renewed life.

They offer a public inebriate shelter and detox open for men and women who are profoundly intoxicated which provides a safe place for them to sleep and get sober while being closely observed by licensed medical personnel. From here they can make the decision to start a nonmedical detox regimen and/or other recovery programs.

Pathway Home is an emergency shelter and rehousing program through Mel Trotter Ministries in collaboration with Family Promise. This gives the families a place to stay with hearty meals, child development, ministry support and case management while they look to find a home. The goal of Pathway Home is to help the families into stable housing as quickly as possible.

Mel Trotter Ministries offers Evening Meals every night from 5:15-6pm, women, and children are in the North Dining Room and Men are in the South Dining Room. Everyone is invited to these community meals.

The emergency shelters at Mel Trotter Ministries are the only shelters to accept anyone who is experiencing homelessness. There’s a Women’s Shelter, a Men’s Shelter, and a Youth Emergency Shelter (Y.E.S). The guests at the emergency shelters receive meals, beds, clothing & shoes, toiletries, showers, referrals & resources, access to the Day Center, options to enter a Restoration Program and the love of Jesus Christ.


Women’s Shelter:    616-588-8740

Men’s Shelter:    616-588-8756

Y.E.S:     616-588-8770


Restoration Programs and Services

Mel Trotter Ministries focuses on restoration to help people gradually get back into society. These include job readiness and housing readiness. Step-Up recovery is a program designed for adults whose primary barrier is substance abuse. It offers intensive case management and spiritual support for long-term recovery. Pilgrimage is a Mel Trotter program designed for those experiencing chronic homelessness; this program helps adults who have physical and/or mental illness. They offer a variety of clinics open to Mel Trotter guests by appointment. Mel Trotter Ministries also provides After Care for anyone who has successfully completed a program and is living in stable housing.

Mel Trotter Ministries has housed over 500 men, women and children and has helped 135 people secure employment. Mel Trotter does a lot to keep our community safe and positive with the love of Jesus Christ. Not only do they lead others to Christ, but they show them the love of Him through others and how there is help and people who care. Mel Trotter wants you to know that you are never alone.

Alliance partners with Mel Trotter Ministries through Quotes for a Cause where you can sign up to receive an insurance quote and as long as we hear from you, we will donate $10/quote to Mel Trotter Ministries. We made our semiannual to give them a check for our Quotes for a Cause campaign and they were unbelievably grateful!

If you’d like to donate or volunteer you can sign up here

Or go to our website and sign up for a free quote, and we’ll donate $10 on your behalf!

What do you do to help in your community?

$10,000 Donation for Kids’ Food Basket

As you all know, we were awarded the 2017 Make More Happen Award! This award included $5,000 to donate to Kids’ Food Basket, which is committed to helping communities feed their children so that they can learn and live well. Along with that, a story about our award was posted on Safeco’s website and if we could get 50+ likes, comments, and/or shares on our story, then we would earn an additional $5,000 for Kids’ Food Basket!

With all of YOUR help, we did accomplish the 50+ shares on our story and earned the additional $5,000! Because of this, we were able to present Kids’ Food Basket with a $10,000 check last Thursday! These sack suppers generally go about $1 per supper, so we were fortunate enough to be able to provide a meal for 10,000 children in the Grand Rapids area. This has been one of the most exciting opportunities that our agency has been given. We are so blessed to be able to help feed the hungry children.

Check Presentation Our agency owner adopted some of his daughters from a low-income area of Grand Rapids where they had been relying on Kids’ Food Basket to provide them with a couple meals. Our personal lines Manager, Phalesha Kyes, was volunteering at Kids’ Food     Basket when she realized that it was the very same organization who used to help provide for herself and her sisters. This realization was an inspiration and started a lifelong volunteer opportunity for our agency.

We now send a couple agents to help pack the suppers once a month and we really enjoy it. Going to the locations and meeting the people really displays the size of the heart that they have for giving. Phalesha was also the Keynote speaker at the “Feast for Kids” event this past May and gave a heartfelt speech just sharing her story.

This was very impactful to see the effect that these sack suppers have had on someone who has now grown into a very successful adult. She was able to communicate the importance of these sack suppers and the hope that they spread.

You can listen/watch this speech on our Facebook page:

Kids’ Food Basket is a wonderful opportunity for you to give back to your community. It’s as simple as going on Tuesday nights for an hour and making sandwiches for the suppers, or a Thursday afternoon to decorate the brown paper bags. These small things add up and make a huge difference.


We want to say a big Thank You to everyone who helped and encouraged us along the way! We doubled our earnings with your help! Together, we wereNutritious Snack able to provide meals for 10,000 children in need. We’re so thankful for each and every one of you who shared, liked or commented on our story. This award has changed many lives and we’re so grateful for it.

A big thank you to Safeco Insurance, as well! Without Safeco, this award wouldn’t exist. We cannot thank them enough for being such a generous company and allowing us the opportunity to win this money for the non-profit that we partner with and the help to get us the extra donation.

 If you’d like to volunteer, you can do so by following this link:

and signing up for whatever location, and time suits you best! 

Make More Happen Award

We are so happy to announce that we have won the 2017 Make More Happen Award from @SafecoInsurance for our volunteer work with Kids’ Food Basket! This award donates $5,000 to Kids’ Food Basket. The coolest part of this award is that if we can get 50+ likes, shares, and/or comments on our story that’s posted on Safeco’s website, then they will donate another $5,000! A huge thank you to Safeco Insurance, for this opportunity to give back to the community!


Kids Food Basket’s mission is to stop childhood hunger in the community. They currently work with schools in the greater Grand Rapids area. When a school has 80% of its students on a Government Assisted Program for lunch, Kids Food Basket steps in to help prepare “Sack Supers” for the children. Typically, the hot lunches they receive at school is their last meal of the day.The sack suppers allow the students to have healthy meals for dinner. Not only does this help the children, but alleviates the stress of the parents who are unable to afford to feed their families. Unfortunately, there are schools on the waiting list to receive Sack Suppers; meaning, there are hungry children going without dinner. Being able to provide “Sack Suppers” to the children as they leave school provides them with a healthy dinner; giving them the strength and energy to begin school the next day.    


Their own impact in our community has not gone unrecognized! Kids Food Basket received the “Governors Service Lifetime Achievement Award” for volunteerism. They were chosen for this honor from a list of 160 nominees committed to community involvement. They also received “Honor and Award from Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons”. They were one of 3 recipients recognized by Palace Sports for their volunteerism in the community.


Our personal lines manager, Phalesha Kyes, has a personal background with this nonprofit organization and has a very touching story that gives insight as to how Kids’ Food Basket has changed the lives of children and the importance of giving back. Ryan Kyes, the owner of our agency, and his wife, Amara Kyes, adopted Phalesha and her sisters from inner-city Grand Rapids. Ryan and Amara continue to give to this charity that provided for their daughters before they were brought into they’re home by dropping off a donation check biannually. In addition to this, the office staff commits time each month to head over and pack these suppers. Due to the high involvement and history of Kids Food Basket in the Kyes’ family, Phalesha was asked to be the Keynote speaker at their “Feast for Kids” event that happened in May and is shown in the pictures here. Our goal is to raise money to help Kids Food Basket extend their work to schools currently on the waiting list.



It’s amazing how hard it is to focus in school (or on anything for that matter) when ‘food’ is the only thing on your mind. We easily take for granted the luxury of grabbing food on our lunch break, or planning dinner; this relationship with Kids Food Basket allows us to appreciate those amenities and learn to not take that for granted. Our favorite part about volunteering is that we can make such a large impact on a child’s life; knowing we are helping children right in our back yard. Helping kids who have no control over their food situation is an unforgettable experience. For as little as $1 per meal, a child gets dinner. It is extremely humbling to serve those in need, especially children.

While reading a letter written to Kid’s Food Basket from a student recipient, they expressed how much they appreciated receiving the food and how it helped them to “be strong”. They also expressed how much they loved the decorated bags and how they keep them on their wall as art. Our agency took part in their “Decorate a Bag” campaign, striving to obtain a goal of 2,500 decorated lunch bags to serve Sack Suppers. We turned in 200 decorated bags!  Seeing the smile on the kids’ faces, or reading the letters, brings such joy to our agency. 

If you’d like to volunteer you can sign up here:  


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