CELEBRATING GREATER LANSING’S NONPROFITS

Too many suits: LMTS Outreach meets real needs

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The needs of nonprofits reflect the times. The LMTS Outreach Center at the corner of Holmes Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is home to a food pantry and a Career Clothes Closet where job seekers can find lightly used clothes for interviews and new jobs.

There’s just one problem, according to LMTS volunteer coordinator Joy Gleason.

“Too many suits,” Gleason said. “People have this idea that career clothes mean suits, but those aren’t the kind of jobs are clients are dressing for.”

What the center really needs is “lightly used” black pants, for fast food jobs; sturdy jeans, for construction jobs; and scrubs, for home health aides and other health care workers.

In a flush labor market, LMTS and other service nonprofits are helping people with limited resources make the first scary, and sometimes costly, jump to a steady job. But they’re not leaving it there.

The center’s next step is a newly launched entrepreneurial networking group. 

“It’s our first foray into encouraging people with creativity to go beyond an hourly wage,” Gleason said. “The Chamber of Commerce networking group is intimidating to many people.”

LTMS Outreach began in 1998 as a single room in the Tabernacle of David Church and now helps thousands of tri-county residents get housing, food, utility assistance and a range of vital services, with headquarters in an office suite at 1122 W. Holmes Road.

The ever-changing roster of volunteers includes community members, MSU students and participants in training programs run by Michigan Works! In addition to the food pantry, the Career Clothes Closet and the annual distribution of hundreds of Thanksgiving turkey dinners, LTMS sponsors Fresh Food Fridays from noon to 2 p.m. at its office suite, hosts a “community feeding” the fourth Saturday of every month at the Tabernacle of David Church at 2645 W. Holmes Rd. and distributes Christmas gift cards for families in need each year.

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