Board Spotlight: Tony's Story

"Mel Trotter changes lives. I’m a witness to that.”

Your compassionate giving started Tony on a journey of success from guest to board member!


Tony was ready to give up. 

After fighting his own addictions for over 30 years, he watched his 21-year-old son face a life sentence in prison. “I felt bad as a father because I couldn’t give my son the proper guidance,” Tony admits. “I took it really hard.”

Tony left his home in Flint, Michigan, and got on the bus. He ended up in Grand Rapids where he didn’t know a soul. 

“Nobody knew me. I didn’t think anyone cared. I didn’t want to live anymore,” he says. 

Tony’s addictions spiraled out of control, and he was arrested 13 different times. “I would use (drugs) to live and I would live to use (drugs). Nothing else mattered,” he recalls. “An addiction takes a toll on your life.”

The distraught man had been introduced to Mel Trotter Ministries when he arrived in town, but wasn’t ready for any kind of change in his life. He often received a hot meal and a safe night of rest at the Mission, all given with love and respect. “I wanted change, but I didn’t want to change,” he says.


“Mel Trotter believes in you when you don’t believe in yourself. That is so critical; it can take a person who has been on the streets for years, like me, and help them become a productive member of society.”


Because of the kindness your support provided during his darkest hours, Tony knew exactly where to turn when he was ready for a transformation.

“The last time I went to jail, I called Mel Trotter,” he remembers. “I asked if I could get into the program, and the coordinator said, ‘Sure. As soon as you get out, come here. We’ll be waiting.’ I’ve been affiliated with Mel Trotter ever since.”

That day, Tony says he began the journey to turn his life around. “Mel Trotter believes in you when you don’t believe in yourself. That is so critical; it can take a person who has been on the streets for years, like me, and help them become a productive member of society.”

Tony in the kitchen

Fourteen years later, Tony is a changed man. He is married and with a home of his own. Now, Tony supports Mel Trotter’s efforts to help others. He serves on the Mission’s board of directors and speaks into the ministry from an understanding of just how critical these programs are to so many. 

Tony was a manager of a restaurant in town, but is now a part of the culinary services team at Mel Trotter Ministries.

As a supporter of Mel Trotter, Tony is particularly excited about how God will use Mel Trotter Ministries during the holiday months, starting with Thanksgiving.

A meal given in love, a night of safety and rest and life-changing resources will give those who have been hit hard by the challenges of 2020 hope for a better future. That is worth giving thanks for!

Tony 2

Tony says the Mission is critical right now “because of everything going on with COVID-19 and the way times are today.”

Please give thanks for the blessings in your life by blessing someone else this Thanksgiving season. God will use your gift to keep welcoming hurting neighbors like Tony, even in the most challenging times.

“Through COVID-19, Mel Trotter is still standing. Through the hard times, Mel Trotter is still standing. Through the years of rain and snow and heat, the doors are always open for homeless people. The doors are open to change lives and offer meals and warm clothes and nights of safety,” Tony says. “I’m just glad to be a part of it, and I thank Mel Trotter for everything they have done and everything they are doing.”

Loading Content...