The Kaufman Interfaith Institute is taking seriously our role in limiting public exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Complying with recommendations from the CDC and the response measures of GVSU, we have cancelled all in person events until future notice. 

We want to continue to be engaged with the community during this time and are offering some virtual spaces to continue facilitating interfaith connections. Check our upcoming events page for details.  Finally, if you have any suggestions on how we can serve the interfaith community during this time, drop us a line at

  • The Kaufman Interfaith Scholars have organized community initiatives to help those in need in GR. 
  • Below is a list of local organizations offering food and financial assistance during COVID-19 as well as ways you can help during this crisis.


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has temporarily suspended evictions in Michigan until April 17.

Freddie Mac
Offering mortgage relief options for those who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to a decline in income, including forbearance for up to 12 months, waiving penalties and fees, halting foreclosure sales/evictions of borrowers in Freddie Mac-owned homes until May 17, and more.

Fannie Mae
Homeowners who are adversely impacted by this national emergency may request mortgage assistance by contacting their mortgage servicer. Foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers are suspended for 60 days. Homeowners impacted by this national emergency are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months.

The State Unemployment Office will extend benefits to workers who are sick, quarantined or taking care of family members who are ill. First responders in the public health community who became ill or quarantined due to exposure are also eligible. Self-employed workers and independent contractors who don’t have access to unemployment insurance will now have access to benefits. Click here to fill out the application online or call 1-866-500-0017.

Michigan Artist Relief Fund to help provide funds for music industry workers who have lost income for the next 3 months (some cases further out) because of event cancellations or venues closing. We take applications on Friday and you can find all if the info, from the requirements to apply and opportunities for those who want to give at this link

USBG National Charity Foundation is offering grant assistance to bartenders and their families. Click here to fill out the application.

United Way has set up funds to help families with health care, financial resources and other services. To help or volunteer click here. The organization has also launched a COVID-19 community response fund to continue efforts to support families during the school closures. 

West Michigan COVID-19 Business Coalition - Resources for both Employers and Employees

Michigan Small Business During COVID-19 offers guidance for small-business owners




Interactive Map of Food Assistance Sites in Kent County Find sites near you

F.O.R. Helpline - 888-544-8773 - Find a food pantry, get assistance applying for SNAP benefits, and referrals to other services. Food and Other Resources helpline

Feeding America has a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries. They help food banks across the country support the most vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic. You can donate herefind your local food bank here, or check out the West Michigan Mobile Pantry Schedule.

Meals on Wheels: Delivers nutritious meals to vulnerable seniors. You can contact your local provider or donate to the national group here.

Meals for Kids: Please spread the word that GRPS in partnership with the Kids Food Basket will be offering sack lunches/dinners for kids up to age 18, regardless of their school, for pickup.

Grand Rapids Community Food Club - COVID-19 has shown us just how important our Community Food Club Family is. As you may have seen from social media or through email, the Food Club model has temporarily changed to reflect government recommendations. Our storefront is closed to ensure the continued health and safety of members, staff, and volunteers alike. With our current altered model, members can call the store to place their order. From there, volunteers or staff assemble the order and deliver it outside to the members car. This short-term system still allows all of the member choice as normal without the risk of entering our communal space.


Disaster Distress Helpline – 1-800-985-5990 — This 24/7/365 service from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides crisis counseling for people going through both natural and human-caused disasters. It’s free, multi-lingual and confidential. You can also text TalkWithUs to 66746.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline
If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can also reach out to
The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services,5885,7-339-71550_2941_4868—,00.html

Alzheimer's Association of Michigan has free online support groups to offer caregivers and those living with Alzheimer's disease and dementia with social interaction, educational information and support.  Dial-in support groups are 6 to 7 p.m. March 25, 10  to 11 a.m. April 15 and 6 to 7 p.m. April 22. The dial-in number is 312-757-3121 and the access code is 294-847-693.

2-1-1 - Call 2-1-1 from any phone to be connected to a list of statewide resources for everything from food and diapers to rental assistance and bus fare. 

Multilingual COVID-19 fact sheets - information from the CDC available in many different languages.

Essential workers ( police officers, firefighters, health care workers, postal workers, sanitation workers, etc.) in need of child care can get assistance finding help.

AT&T will offer free internet access to new customers for two months and low-income households can continue to subscribe for $10/month. All public WiFi hotspots are open to anyone. AT&T will not terminate service of any customer due to an inability to pay and all late payment fees will be waived. Click here to learn more.

Comcast and Charter Communications will offer free internet access to low-income families. Internet and cable will not be suspended. Click here for guidelines.



American Red Cross  is in desperate need of blood donations. Find out where to give here

Versiti is also taking donations. Visit or call 616-774-2300.

Bridge article: How to give blood in Michigan during the coronavirus crisis


Our friends at  Spectrum Health shared a list of supplies that are being accepted at 14 of their locations: See List

Additional donations, which will be distributed to first responders and members of the medical community, can also be taken to Salvation Army (1632 Linden SE) Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm.

Kent County Emergency Services Team  - With an unprecedented crisis upon us,  the Kent County Emergency Services Team is building volunteer capacity to help in multiple capacities.  Because we are trying to build capacity as quickly as possible and to add volunteers to our roster for this particular event,  we have created a very specific volunteer group called Event-Based Volunteers. 

State of Michigan Volunteer Opportunities - All Michiganders can volunteer their compassion and commitment to fighting this virus, and saving health and lives. Your time, talent and donations will have an impact now. 

United Ways Seasons of Caring - United Way’s Seasons of Caring connects individuals, professional teams, school and church groups and entire organizations to meaningful volunteer work.

United Way's 211 Fund -  COVID-19 Response Fund to help those affected by the new coronavirus (COVID-19)\

Hispanic Center of Western Michigan - The Hispanic Center of West Michigan has been given funds to cover the cost of translation and interpretation services for any organization for the time being. The Center has the capability to turn around translation of written materials in 24 hours or less, in some 85 languages. They also have the capacity to do same day, simultaneous interpretation of things like press conferences or short videos. Holly Rea is the Center's language services manager, and she is monitoring her email (, cell phone (616- 828-9679), and office phone (616- 742-0200 ext 132) for translation and interpretation requests. At this time, cost should not be seen as a barrier for organizations to access language services through the Center.  They are also sponsoring the

Vulnerable Populations Support Network - Donations for Food Purchase to Support the Roosevelt Park Community. The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan (with the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids) is distributing daily sack lunches and dinners at the Center for area GRPS school children, families, and community members from Monday, 3/30/2020 until the COVID-19 crisis is over. These are massive daily distributions. They want to have the ability to provide as much as they can to all of our community, including those who are most vulnerable or not system supported. Having a continuous stream of food supplies to do this obviously becomes a necessity. As the interfaith community of West Michigan, we have the opportunity to help our neighbors in this uncertain and difficult time. Your partnership in this effort would be greatly appreciated. All funds collected will go to the purchasing of staple food items for the Roosevelt Park community.


Kaufman Interfaith Scholars Big Change Resource Drive  - Our Scholars Community Mobilization Task Force has organized the Big Change Resource Drive. This task force strives to meet the needs of the most under resourced populations in the greater Grand Rapids area. 

Grand Rapids Community Food Club - With all of the changes and the postponement of our major fundraising event, Welcome to the Club, we are asking for your support. We recognize the shift in economic climate right now but we also need to continue serving our members. Much of our food in the past has been donated or we have been able to purchase at a discount. With the food shortages, we are having to pay more to keep our shelves stocked. With your generosity, our produce, milk, meat, eggs, and cheese will be able to remain consistently stocked throughout the remainder of COVID-19.

Kid's Food BasketWe nourish children living at or near the poverty level with critical evening meals to level the playing field for their academic achievement. Equipping children and families with greater access to fresh, locally grown food can help us build a more vibrant, healthier West Michigan.  

God's Kitchen - It is time to change the way we talk about “feeding the hungry.” The food and pantry programs of Catholic Charities West Michigan exceed the expectations of the traditional definition of what a “soup kitchen” is or does.

Kent County Health Department  - Latest updates on how Coronavirus is affecting our local community. 

Center for Disease Control

World Health Organization

You can email your questions for the State of Michigan about COVID-19 to

If you have questions about the business implications of the Executive Order you can email LARA-COVID-19-Questions@Michigan.Gov .