Meet Our New Staff Member!


Nikki Snyder

Nikki has been involved in the Lowell community for the past 10 years and was involved in the Lowell Community Wellness. She is our Office Administrator. She is excited for her role at FROM because of the opportunity it will give her to serve and get to know the community. Her fun fact is that she started the Pink Arrow flash mob 10 years ago. (You can watch the video on YouTube!)

Congratulations to Team South!

After a month of friendly but fierce competition, Team South has emerged victorious in FROM’s (Flat River Outreach Ministries) annual Food Fight Campaign.  

From May 1 – June 1 the nonprofit encouraged the Greater Lowell community to give from the heart to see who can raise the most resources.  

The campaign divided the Greater Lowell Community into two teams – Team North and Team South with M-21 splitting the teams. Each dollar and food item donated to FROM counted as a point for that team. Combined, Team North and Team South totaled 11,000 food items and $145,000 in financial donations. This equaled 156,455 points which surpassed FROM’s goal of reaching 150,000 points.  

“Thank you to everyone who participated in Food Fight – whether you made a financial donation, collected food, were a food collection site for us, or shared our Social Media posts,” Arianne Hall, FROM Development Director said. “You make it possible for us to reach our neighbors in need – every day. We truly could not do what we do without you!”  

Although Food Fight is over, the community can still get involved by donating on our website at  

Thrift Store Now Open Mondays!

For Treasures Thrift Store, Mondays have always been bustling with volunteers excited prepare the shop for the week and interact with one another. Now the community will be able to join in the excitement that Mondays bring. We are excited to announce that FROM will be opening Treasures Thrift shop on Mondays starting June 6. Rather than locked doors, shoppers will be met with open arms of volunteers and employees eager to serve the community.

Shoppers will have the opportunity to start their week by browsing our shelves packed with a variety of items. Big promotional sales will be held each Monday to help celebrate the opening. June 6 will be a 10$ red bag sale and all other Mondays will be 75% off clothing.

Treasures Thrift Store has already seen improvements such as new front room displays and signs, the expansion of several departments, and a new community bulletin board. The thrift store has played an important role in both the lives of our customers and the support of our other programs. All of the proceeds from Treasures Thrift Store help support the mission of FROM. That means funds help serve the more than 600 families who utilize programs at FROM each year. We are excited for this opening to be another way FROM can serve the community and continue the thrift shop’s recent success.

“I am excited to have this opportunity to provide our customers with more options to fit their shopping needs. The additional funds will support our mission and provide additional resources to our community,” said Laura Bradeen, the thrift store manager.

To help support Treasures Thrift Store, come shop on Mondays or sign up to volunteer. We are in need of people to run the cash register or sort donations on Monday. Having a full roster of volunteers is important to provide the necessary time and care needed to give our customers a wonderful shopping experience.

The store will be open on Monday starting on June 6 from 10AM-6PM. This is in addition to being open Tuesday-Saturday 10AM-6PM and Saturday 10AM-2PM.

Meet our Summer Interns!

We’re excited to introduce two Marketing Communications Interns this summer! Andrew and Liz will be helping us with Social Media and blog posts, writing and so much more throughout this summer. Let’s get to know them


Andrew Boersema

Hi, my name is Andrew Boersema. I am currently a senior studying strategic communications and journalism at Calvin University. I grew up in the Ada/Lowell area and have been around this community for most of my life. I am thrilled to be joining FROM as a communications and marketing intern because it gives me a chance to apply what I have learned through Calvin into a place that helps benefit the community I grew up in. Working at a non-profit organization that aligns with my beliefs is an encouraging start to my professional development. I am excited to use my creativity and writing skills to help FROM make a lasting impact on the city of Lowell. When I am not working or studying, I enjoy watching or playing sports, cooking, or spending time outdoors hiking and camping.



Elizabeth Rohling                                                             

Hello, My name is Elizabeth Rohling and I am working towards a bachelors degree in marketing
at Cornerstone University as well as a minor in Digital Media. I am very excited to be working for
a non-profit and I can’t wait to learn the new skills that this company offers. I know that there will
be many challenges as there is for every company but what makes FROM different is the

community. I noticed it the second I came in for an interview and it has only been cemented as I

have begun to meet everyone. It has always been important for me to work somewhere where it
is very team oriented and everyone works together. I believe this company is just that which is
why I was very excited when I got the job offer to help find ways to let more people know about
this great organization.


Teaming Up to Aid Ukraine

Currently in our Medical Equipment Loan Closet, the regular team of volunteers who clean our donated equipment, are collecting items to be sent to Ukraine.

FROM periodically receives items that we are not able to use, so these items will be shared with communities who most need them.   

“Life is so difficult there right now and we want to do our part to help,” lead medical loan volunteer, Denise, said.  “We don’t want any of our donations to go to waste, so we are sending the items FROM is unable to distribute to Ukraine.”   

Denise is working with St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church in Grand Rapids to get supplies to Chicago, where it will be sent out to Poland, to care for the injured Ukrainian refugees and to be dispersed into Ukraine.   

The items being collected include unused ace bandage wraps, gauze, suture kits, and bandages. If you have items you’d like to donate to this cause specifically, please bring them to our front office, and Denise and her team will make sure it’s included.  

Our goal is to use your gifts to cause the maximum amount of good in not only our community, but also the world at large. 

Learning Something New – Cooking Classes at FROM

Mid-February we hosted our second Healthy Cooking Class! Led by MSU Extension, the evening was filled with a fun environment to learn cooking skills and be hands on in the cooking process.


Nearly a dozen people came to the event to learn knife skills to cut different vegetables, all of helped build the meal. The best part? Enjoying a delicious chicken stir-fry dinner at the end!


“It was a fun way for my family to do something together and to enjoy a fresh meal,” one attendee shared.


The Healthy Cooking classes were launched Fall 2021 to encourage community members to cook at home with fresher, healthier, and more nutrient dense ingredients.


“These classes are also to empower individuals to grow their skills and knowledge in order to feel confident in the kitchen,” Kelly Glas, FROM Healthy Food Program Coordinator shared. “I love being able to take part in these classes and learn something new during each one!”


Healthy Cooking Classes are open to the public and will be offered all throughout 2022! Be sure to watch Facebook, or join the FROM email list to hear about the next event coming in May!

Bob Shares his Mobile Food Pantry Experience

When I volunteer at FROM’s Mobile Food Pantry, I see myself in every vehicle that pulls up, pops their trunk and leaves with a few boxes of food.

In the Fall of 2001, I stood in line at the Kent County Youth Fair Grounds with a couple of bags under my arm waiting for the doors at Flat River Outreach Ministries (FROM) Mobile Food Pantry to open.

I had been let go from a well-paying job and found myself on unemployment just 12 months after purchasing a new home in downtown Lowell and a new car.

I quickly burnt through my savings and lived off from a part-time job and unemployment checks. I took a second part-time job selling Christmas trees at a local farm stand because I didn’t want to live off from just unemployment… and, I couldn’t. I was required to claim that income which dramatically reduced my unemployment benefits.

With a lot of budgeting, coupon cutting and food from FROM, I was able to make ends meet until I landed my current job that following summer.

Our neighbors who utilize FROM’s Mobile Food Pantry (and more than a dozen other programs at FROM) have found themselves in a situation where they’ve realized they need a little help.

For most of us it takes a lot to ask, show up and receive help. It sure was for me.

I remember seeing people I knew handing me food. I felt ashamed and embarrassed at first, but then I could see their compassion in their eyes, love in their smiles and generosity in their hands. They were there to help unconditionally, no matter what.

If you need help, you can come to FROM. And if you want to help others, the answer is the same: you can come to FROM to volunteer, drop off your unwanted treasures to the thrift store or donate your financial blessings generously.

Welcome, Pastor Nate!

Welcome Pastor Nate Gray to the FROM Board of Directors!  

What drew you to FROM and how did you get connected?  

We have been in the community for twelve years now and from the beginning I wanted to personally, and lead my church, to be a part of where God was at work in the community.  It didn’t take long to realize FROM was engaging in Kingdom work!  I wish I had taken more of a hands-on approach long ago, but we have been part of FROM initiatives for years.  Lately, the opportunity to serve by being a part of the board presented itself and I sensed God’s leading.  I also recognized how much I could learn and grow by rubbing shoulders with the great people involved at FROM.  I also wholeheartedly agree with FROM’s guiding beliefs and core values.  I appreciate an organization that desires to come alongside others, to equip, empower and help people experience wholeness and health.

What are you most excited about as you begin your role on FROMs board? 

I am excited to learn and grow!  I am excited to add my voice, passions, gifts and service!  I also look forward to living into my unique role as providing a pastoral presence and spiritual guidance in any way I can on the board and to those in the FROM network.  I love to walk with people on their journeys and listen to their heart’s cries, questions and passions.  It is a privilege to be able to walk in these sacred ways. God is always present and at work and we get to join him! 

 What’s a random fact about yourself?  

I grew up doing lumberjack contests with my dad and brother and still enjoy those to this day.  However, I also love to sit in a coffee shop and discuss deep things!  I have varying interests and hobbies and l think it allows me to meet and get to know people from all different walks of life!  

Pastor Nate will be another valuable asset to FROM, and we look forward to the new progress we will be able to make with him on our team! 

Welcome, Dolores!

As we continue to welcome Dolores to the Treasures Thrift Store team, we conducted an interview to get to know her a little better.  

 Dolores found FROM as a volunteer in November 2019, after defeating cancer and losing her mother and husband earlier that year.  

 “This was something I needed to fill my time, and everyone was so welcoming,” she said. “This filled a void.” 

 Seeing and connecting with new people in the Thrift Store and at the Front Desk is part of why she loves FROM so much. “I’ve always had the gift to gab,” Dolores says. 

 Dolores transitioned from a volunteer to a staff member in late 2021 to help fill gaps at Treasures Thrift Store. 

 “I’m so excited to have this position which, along with our amazing volunteers, will give us the opportunity to provide the necessary coverage to help fill our gaps as well as help us provide the best shopping experience for our customers,” Laura, Thrift Store Manager, said. 

 Here are a couple fun facts about Dolores as well… 

  • She spends her Monday’s dog sitting her granddaughters golden retriever puppy.  
  • She and her husband lived on a golf course for 20 years and loved to golf together! 

 Dolores has already been a valuable addition to the FROM team in aiding to resolve the cashiering schedule issues.  

 Welcome, Dolores, we are so glad you’re here! 

Addressing the Cashier Challenge through a New Position

We’ve got some exciting things happening in Treasures Thrift Store!

At FROM (Flat River Outreach Ministries) we are blessed with an incredible group of volunteers who help keep our thrift store running smoothly and efficiently. Volunteers touch every aspect of the store – from when items are donated until they are purchased!

Over the last several years, keeping our cashier position filled for all shifts has proved to be a consistent challenge. Due to limited volunteers available for key time frames (evenings and weekends) we’ve had to make the difficult decision to limit our open hours, and periodically have to close the store early. We know that disappoints our shoppers, and it impacts our ability to serve families in need in our community

Thrift Store Manager and Thrift Store Coordinator positions have not been able to address the cashier gap due to other needs throughout the store.

With this consistent challenge, we’ve decided to create a Cashier Lead position. This approximately 20 hour a week staff position will start as a 6-month pilot position. We are excited to welcome Dolores Bell into this role!

Dolores has worked with us both as a volunteer and through a program with AARP both as a receptionist and in the thrift store. Her warm and friendly personality has welcomed countless visitors through our front door, and we know she will help us create a welcoming experience for our customers and volunteers.

She’ll be working alongside Laura, Thrift Store Manager, and Tarin, Thrift Store Coordinator, to help:

  • Provide stability in the Cashier Schedule to ensure we don’t have to close early.
  • Work evenings and weekends and fill in where volunteers are not available.
  • Allow us to participate in special events and stay open later to provide a better customer experience!
  • Help open and close the register and train other cashiers!

FROM learned about the Cashier Lead position while investigating best practices other West Michigan thrift stores. We learned that one thrift store uses all paid staff at the register while another uses a combination of paid staff and volunteers at the register. The one using a combination utilizes several managers, assistant managers and a Cashier Lead role to fill in the volunteer gaps in the schedule.

“I’m so excited to have this position which, along with our amazing volunteers, will give us the opportunity to provide the necessary coverage to help fill our gaps as well as help us provide the best shopping experience for our customers,” Laura, Thrift Store Manager, said.

We are so thankful for all of our volunteers who work so hard in the thrift store to help us make a difference in the lives of families in need in our community. We’re excited to see how this position will come alongside volunteers and make an even greater impact in our community.

Please join us in welcoming Dolores to the FROM team!


Get to Know our Thrift Store Manager Laura!

Laura, our Thrift Store Manager, has been on staff for just over a month! To celebrate, we’ve invited her to answer a few questions so we can all get to know her better! Enjoy!

Tell us a little about yourself!

I moved to the Lowell area with my husband and two daughters, a little over a year ago from Battle Creek to be closer to my parents. I grew up in the Grand Rapids area, so it’s been fun to re-explore the area and familiarize myself with all the outdoor recreational opportunities that Lowell has to offer. I enjoy spending time with my family traveling, cooking, and playing pickle ball.

What drew you to FROM?

I was inspired by FROM’s mission to be the community hub for hope, resources and gifts.  I saw the FROM Store Manager position as an opportunity for me to leverage my experience in the Retail Industry in a non-profit setting and give back to the community in which I live.

What did you do prior to joining the FROM staff?

I have worked in the Retail/Clothing Industry throughout my career in various capacities, from Sales Manager/Assistant Store Manager, Merchandise Manager, Operations Manager, Product Analyst, Human Resources Manager to Business Administration Manager and was most recently employed by Macy’s for the past 11 years. I enjoy Retail, most especially working with people, and saw the Thrift Store Manager role as a rewarding opportunity to put my experience to work in a non-profit setting.

What have you enjoyed the most in your first month as the Thrift Store Manager?

My favorite part of the job is working with such a talented team of staff and volunteers whose mission is to provide resources for the Lowell community.  I have been very impressed by the dedication, passion and commitment of the volunteers and staff to make FROM a success. I am excited to be part of this organization and their mission to support the Lowell community.

Which of FROMs values sticks out to you the most / what makes you most passionate about being part of the FROM team?

I am aligned with FROM’s values….most especially, “Equity” in achieving our mission for all people. I saw the FROM Store Manager position as an opportunity for me to make a positive impact on the community by leveraging my experience in the Retail Industry to help achieve equal access and opportunities to help meet the needs of the community.

What’s a random fact about yourself?

I love to travel and my goal is to visit all 50 states….I have 4 more states to visit in order to hit 50 – Mississippi, Louisiana, Idaho, and Alaska!!


Lasting Legacy & Affordable Housing

The “fun” uncle. Great conversationalist. Frugal. Friend of FROM (Flat River Outreach Ministries). These all describe Phil Rice, who passed away at the end of 2020.

Through Phil, FROM was blessed to receive a generous estate gift that will be used to help families in need in our community access safe and affordable housing.

“The generous gift of Phil Rice will help Flat River Outreach Ministries continue pursuing affordable housing solutions right here in our community,” Wendie Preiss Executive Director shared.

Kathy Brady, Phil’s niece, said he was drawn to FROM because of the way FROM serves families and individuals in need. He worried about people who were in need and didn’t know where to go. He wanted to ensure they were taken care of.

Phil and his wife of sixty-four years, Donna Mae, were generous to many organizations over the years. FROM and the Humane Society were among the organizations that worked to address causes that were near and dear to them

We are so thankful for the generosity from Phil and Donna Mae and for their lasting impact on our community.