GVSU students donate appliances to Ottawa County to help those impacted by COVID-19

Appliances donated by GVSU students to Ottawa County are loaded into a truck Wednesday, May 13.
Appliances donated by GVSU students to Ottawa County are loaded into a truck Wednesday, May 13.
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski

Microwaves and refrigerators that once belonged to students who lived in Grand Valley housing were donated to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health to help vulnerable populations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The county received more than 20 appliances during an organized pickup held shortly after May 10, the last day students returned to campus to retrieve their personal belongings. 

Rence Meredith, Facilities Services maintenance supervisor, said department of public health officials approached GVSU and asked about appliances students bring with them to campus.

Those appliances are occasionally left behind, Meredith said. A coordinated effort among Facilities Services, the Grand Valley Police Department, and Housing and Residence Life garnered 15 microwaves and six refrigerators to donate.

Colleen Bailey, associate director of Housing and Residence Life, said a message was sent to students who still had items to retrieve, and within a few hours, donations came in.

“We ask for something and our students are willing to contribute,” Bailey said. “They have limited resources, but that’s just the Grand Valley way.”

Maintenance staff members relocated the donations from the various living centers across campus to one central location for pick-up.

Jennifer Sorek, Ottawa County public health preparedness coordinator, said the department is appreciative of the generosity and support of GVSU students. She said the county has been working with community partners to ensure safe and comfortable isolation and quarantine conditions for vulnerable populations.

“The microwaves and refrigerators will be placed in temporary housing locations for individuals who are impacted by COVID-19, but cannot return home or may be homeless,” Sorek said.