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Michigan Insurance Blog

Mel Trotter Ministries

Mel Trotter Ministries is one of the few organizations that help reduce homelessness in the West Michigan area.

They provide shelter, meals, and encouragement to those in need. They provide so much more than that too. They create a place for people experiencing homelessness to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ. In the midst of this, they provide a place for them to live, food for them to eat, and they help them with financial counseling. This way they can help them build a solid and healthy lifestyle from the start. Mel Trotter assists with finding jobs and follows up with people even after they’ve left the shelter. They want to make sure that those people can keep up with society, so they don’t end up back in the housing at Mel Trotter. At Mel Trotter, they work on long term improvement. 88% of guests from 2017 who exit Mel Trotter Ministry programs successfully remain housed after one year!

Throughout the guest’s time staying there, they have access to pastoral help and chapel three times per week. Mel Trotter Ministries are trying to create a warm, welcoming home for those who don’t have one. They use Christian beliefs and practices to show love and kindness in West Michigan. Their goal is to end homelessness by giving encouragement and hope to those who may not have any.

Most of us have been blessed with a home for our whole lives, and don’t understand the feeling of homelessness. Volunteering at Mel Trotter is an excellent place to go and get to know some people who have been in those situations. The stories that they can tell you and the knowledge that they can provide are going to be worth your time there. Building relationships is one of the most important factors in helping them get back into the routines of society.

In 2017 Mel Trotter provided:

101,987 people with shelter over night

129,313 nourishing meals, served with love and dignity

And served 460 youth, ages 18-24

They also assisted 401 men, women, and children with finding stable housing

Helped 103 people secure employment

Helped 84 families with children to find housing

Provided 2,077 patients with vision, dental, and chiropractic services at the Clinics

Here at Alliance, we have a Quotes for a Cause campaign. For every quote requested through our website (make sure to choose a ministry, and respond to our phone call), we give $10 to one of our partners, Mel Trotter or Kid’s Food Basket. These organizations have done so much to help our neighbors and our city, it’s time that we give back to them too! Think about what “home” means to you. Whether it’s a home-cooked meal, family, or just a roof over your head, some people don’t have any of those things. What would you do if you didn’t have anywhere to go at night? Think of every time you run inside your home, when it’s raining, windy, or you just can’t wait to get inside and kick your shoes off. Most of us have that luxury, but there are many people who don’t. Let’s work with Mel Trotter to end homelessness today!

For more info and ways to help visit to see what you can do, and to view their 2017 annual report. 

Valentine’s Day: Date Ideas and Gift Guide

Valentine’s Day: Date Night Ideas and Gift Guide

Valentine’s Day is here! Don’t forget to plan a special night for your special someone. We’ve compiled a small list of date ideas and then a gift guide as well. Hopefully this can help you give your significant other a date they’ll never forget. This is not limited to couples and can be used for a Girls Night Out or for your family members and friends as well. Although Valentine’s Day is generally more of a romantic holiday, it’s just celebrating love. It’s good to show your friends and family some appreciation on Valentine’s Day as well because everyone wants to feel loved!

Date Night Ideas for those who have forgotten or run out of creativity:

Go out to Dinner: The most common date idea, one that we all enjoy, is going out to dinner. Everyone loves easier with a full belly! Here’s a small list of some of the best restaurants in Grand Rapids. Grove, Green Well Gastro Pub, Marie Catrib’s, Terra, Brewery Vivant, Hibachi, the Downtown Market, or any place on 28th Street! There are countless options for dinner in Grand Rapids and all of them can be as romantic as you make them.

Ice Skating: Rosa Parks Circle is $3 per person and you can skate for as long as you’d like! An excellent date, just be sure to check the weather before heading out. This skating rink is outdoors and hours may change depending on the weather.

Craft Room: If you and/or your significant other are interested in art, then these are some wonderful places to visit this Valentine’s Day! You have couples painting options where you can paint and have adult beverages for a romantic evening. You can do this at Painting with a Twist or the Brush Studio. Both are in Grand Rapids and both will leave you with a fun memoir of the evening that you can use as home décor as well. The Mud Room in Grand Rapids is a similar place, instead of painting you have pottery that you can glaze and wooden signs to paint. This is a little bit of a change up but the perfect choice for those of us who aren’t necessarily talented in the painting world.   

Movie: Go see a movie in theatres or rent one and watch it at home. Either one makes for good quality time with the person you love and can keep you out of the cold.

Sporting Event: Some would view this as not romantic but it’s so much fun! Wear your jerseys, get some nachos, and enjoy each other’s competitive spirits! Another way of doing this is to order wings and stay in to watch the Winter Olympics with your partner.

Blind Date Book from Barnes & Noble: Blind date books are one of my favorite surprises! You purchase a book that’s wrapped up with just a small summary on it and then you have to read to find out the plot. This takes you and your partner on a mystery adventure and can be done in the comfort of your home! 

Coffee: Getting coffee with someone allows time to chat and get to know one another. Everyone needs to get coffee now and then, even if you’ve been together for years and years! My boyfriend took me out for coffee and a nice walk in the fresh downtown air of GR last year and it was my favorite Valentine’s date yet. Some coffee shops are Biggby, Starbucks, Ferris Coffee & Nut Co., Madcap Coffee, Rowster Coffee, Schuil Coffee, and (my favorite) PaLatte Coffee & Art.

Horse-drawn Carriage Ride: You can ride around beautiful downtown Grand Rapids in a horse drawn carriage with your love. Bring blankets and hot chocolate and enjoy the fresh air! I’ve also had the pleasure of going on a carriage ride with my sweetheart and it was very romantic, I highly recommend this. It gives you lots of time to talk and get to know one another while experiencing GR. This is also a good way to get outside even though it’s winter! 


Here’s a small gift guide to help get your creativity flowing this Valentine’s Day:

Gifts for Her: Flowers, chocolates, balloons, jewelry, gold plated rose, eternal rose, cheesy matching things (phone cases, bracelets, t shirts, etc.), a nice outfit for her to wear to dinner, or a giant teddy bear.

All of these things may seem cliché or basic, but that’s all she needs. Valentine’s Day doesn’t require a huge, spectacular gift, a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolate is plenty. What a woman really wants is to spend time with the person she loves. You’ll want to be sure to get in all 5 love languages this Valentine’s Day.


Gifts for Him: Personalized pocket knife, soft blanket, tickets to a game or concert, chocolates, beer, a dozen donuts, heart shaped pizza or steak, gift card to his favorite store, or a good book.

It’s often perceived that men are too hard to shop for on Valentine’s Day. It’s as simple as finding something small that he loves. And once again, just like for women, men want to spend quality time with their loved one this Valentine’s Day. See the 5 love languages for more on how you can show love this holiday season.  


For more Valentine’s Day ideas visit to see what some other people have come up with! Let us know what your favorite ideas are and if this was helpful to you and your loved ones this Valentine’s Day! 

How does your relationship effect your insurance?

How does your relationship effect your insurance?

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and love is in the air! Love is wonderful, but there are some key steps to take when progressing through your relationship that are oftenRoses forgotten. Once these are forgotten they can add stress to the relationship later on. In order to prevent this from happening, we’ve made a small guide for you. This should help with whatever step of the relationship you’re going through and can assist with making big decisions on whether or not you’re ready to move forward.

When getting married: Start with calling your insurance company about a month before the wedding. If you can, send them the declaration page for your significant other’s policy. This way they can easily combine your policy with your soon-to-be spouse’s policy. You’ll want to make sure that all names (last name in particular) are appropriately adjusted. You will need to call your company to see when you can officially combine policies. Some carriers want everything together as soon as you’re living together, and some want everything combined once you’re married. To find an exact time, you’ll want to call your company.

When moving in together: Whether you’re married or not, if you’re living together then most companies will want you both on the same policy. Occasionally, it’s as simple as providing a declarations page to each other’s insurance company. Usually, you’ll at least be added as a driver on your significant other’s policy. You may want to get a quote for combining policies at that point. Often, it’s cheaper to add another driver and vehicle (depending on the situation). If your significant other has a poor driving record, it could increase your insurance rates.

Latte Art

On the other end of the spectrum, some people are feeling less love and going through the difficult process of splitting up. It’s hard to go through that and we’re trying to make that as pain-free as possible. We’ve put together a couple tips for you to make sure that you don’t miss an important step in this process.

When moving out (no divorce): Whether you’re married or not, if you’re living at separate addresses then you can get your own policy. As long as both parties are insured at all times then it’s okay. You’ll need to make sure that both parties are cooperating to get two separate policies started, then cancel the old, combined policy after the new ones have both been issued. Make sure all names, addresses, and vehicles are correct. If one of the parties moves into a place with other people, then you’ll want to refer back to When Moving in Together and potentially combine policies with them.

When getting divorced: A divorce is challenging. You’ll be splitting everything up and it’ll be exhausting. You’ll want to call your insurance company and discuss what steps need to be taken. You can each get your own policies issued but you cannot remove your ex-wife or ex-husband from the policy. In order to remove someone from a policy, the insurance company would need to speak with them directly.

We hope you never have to experience the negative ways that relationships can affect you but that’s the risk you take. This is just a quick guide to make those times less stressful, and make the good times more enjoyable. As always, we appreciate your feedback and hope this is helpful!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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