Get Involved


Here we provide food and shelter on weekend days. On Sundays, volunteers from 20 groups purchase, prepare and serve hot meals, as well as "carry out" sack lunches. This program is both a big hit and a big help!

Total Served:
2,000 plus for FY 2011

Our Shelter Home Program provides transitional housing for homeless families who are on the road back to a permanent residence. Families commit to 6-18 months of programming to identify, address and solve the problems that led to their homelessness.

Advent House owns three homes. Two are currently rented as Sober Centers by the Lansing Chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism. Our third can house one family for 9-18 months.

Volunteer instructor and Board Member Ron Holley conducts class.The Advent House GED Academy provides help for those persons who have not completed their high school education. We are in need of individual subject tutors and classroom instructors. You don't need to be an expert, just lots of patience and a willingness to work with people.

We also need educational supplies - basic calculators, spiral notebooks, pens, #2 pencils, legal pads - nothing fancy, just stuff that works!

Anyone who is interested in getting involved should contact Literacy Director Toni Townshend at 517-485-4722.

Total Served:
300 enrollees

Advent House is asking our supporters to help us serve those who served our country by contributing to our “10,000 Rays of Hope” campaign, an effort to raise $10,000 for programs that help Lansing-area veterans transition from homelessness into permanent housing.

Advent House has traditionally assisted more than 100 Lansing-area homeless veterans each year by providing life skills training and recreational activities. We also aim to ensure they don’t become isolated or discouraged while living on their own.

However, grants and other funding sources that have supported these efforts have dried up or been scaled back, jeopardizing the future of our veterans programs. 

The Lansing area’s homeless veterans need our help – and they deserve it. In conjunction with Veterans Day, please consider honoring those who have sacrificed for our country by supporting the “10,000 Rays of Hope” campaign.  

A successful fundraiser will allow us to continue assisting veterans such as Frank Foster and Jimi Tarrant, who credit Advent House with helping them turn their lives around. Here are their stories:

Frank Foster: “They have a way to help”

Frank Foster says Advent House’s support has helped him stay sober after he spent more than two decades as a “functioning drunk.”

“If you have a problem, they have a way to help,” said Foster, who now attends Lansing Community College with the goal of becoming a counselor who helps others overcome substance abuse. 

Foster said he received emotional support from Advent House workers while staying at a Lansing shelter, and he received more tangible assistance – in the form of furniture – when he transitioned to his own apartment.

“They do a lot of things, and they all help you continue on your road to recovery,” he said.

Foster went straight into the U.S. Army after graduating from high school in 1984. “That’s when the drinking took off, and it never stopped until March 2011,” he said. 

After leaving the Army in 1988, Foster supported himself with a series of construction jobs even while drinking heavily. But when the construction industry slumped in 2007, he found himself out of work and homeless. 

In March 2011, he checked into the Veterans Administration hospital in Battle Creek with the intention of becoming – and staying – sober. Five months later, his road to recovery took him to the Lansing shelter. 

Advent House workers regularly visited the shelter to help residents develop life skills and just generally provide emotional support, he said. “They’re really the only agency that would come and socialize with us and hang out,” Foster said. For instance, Advent House would organize monthly social excursions, such as taking shelter residents to plays, museums and restaurants. 

Even the furniture that Advent House arranged for the apartment he moved into in August 2013 was a type of emotional support, Foster said. It boosted his morale and gave him one less worry as he continued to get his life back on track.

Now, with Advent House’s funding shortfall, there’s a waiting list of formerly homeless veterans who need furniture, Foster noted. He said he knows firsthand how important the service is and is hopeful the 10,000 Rays of Hope campaign will allow Advent House to continue helping others as it has helped him.

Jimi Tarrant: “They make you feel like a person again”

Jimi Tarrant was homeless for 2½ years until one day he awoke on a February morning in the tent he was staying in surrounded by beer bottles. That’s when he decided it was time to change his life.

With help from Advent House, he’s been sober for more than 22 months, is living in a furnished apartment and is committed to helping others.

“Now I am a big advocate for homeless vets,” said Tarrant, who served in the U.S. Army from 1976-79. “I try to show them there’s more to life than drinking and drugging.”

He’s also a big believer in the work Advent House performs. “Advent House is one of the best things I’ve run into,” he said. 

He recalled how much he and other residents of the shelter he previously lived in enjoyed the social excursions organized by Advent House.

“It gives us a sense of fulfillment,” he said. “Guys are like little kids when they get out and do those things.”

Now he readily volunteers to drive the van that transports the shelter’s residents to the outings. 

Tarrant said he became an alcoholic during his Army stint and continued drinking after discharge while holding a series of jobs involving home construction and asphalt. 

“My drinking’s always been my downfall for my employment,” he said. “If I could start all over, I’d never touch a drop of alcohol.”

Having a fully furnished apartment has helped build his self-esteem, Tarrant said. “It feels more like a home now,” he said.

He also proudly talks about his search for a snowplowing job, his plan to become more involved in peer counseling and his determination to remain sober.

He said Advent House deserves much of the credit for his improved outlook on life.

““They make you feel like a person again and not a number,” he said. “I never had a sense of humor before, and now I can laugh about anything.” 

Recent Projects

DeWitt Boyscouts Troop #77

Troop 77 in action.Eagle Scout Marshall Reisig organized a lanscape beautification project for our shelter homes. The scouts came out in spite of record setting heat and worked their magic. Advent House Executive Director Susan Cancro was very impressed with the organization, professionalism and hard work ethic these young men brought to their project. Thank you, gentlemen!
Marshall Reisig and Susan Cancro discuss Troop 77's work.Isaiah House Landscaping


Takin' It To the Streets

Michigan State University students decended upon Lansing and the surrounding area to perform service projects on August 20th, 2012. One group of MSU students came to Advent House and repainted our Weekend Dayshelter and the surrounding hallways. These hardworking young men and women completed their task in a single day. Thank you MSU! Go Green!

MSU students having fun on the job.MSU Volunteers go to town on the Dayshelter.MSU volunteers ham it up for the camera.


Missy T.

Missy is a graduate of our GED Academy who went on to complete her studies at Lansing Community College. This is a brief excerpt from an essay she wrote for her composition class:

"With the economy in a state of decline, adult education has become increasingly important. Instead of seeking to limit programs, such as the one offered by Advent House, we should be thinking of ways to promote them. With education comes employment opportunity. If people can support themselves, they won't need the government to do it for them. All they need, like me, is a chance.”

"After spending three years in a broken relationship I suddenly found myself single. With nowhere else to go, I shamefully moved back in with my parents. I remember the embarrassment and anger. Here I was, a twenty-four year old high school dropout making minimum wage and once again living with my mother and father. Then, unexpectedly, I was offered the chance to change things.

"Quite by accident I stumbled across a place called Advent House. I discovered that among other charity programs they offered a free GED class. Not only would they help me prepare myself for the test but they would pay for me to take it as well. It was blindingly clear to me that this was an opportunity I could not in good conscience pass up. I am well aware that there are many people who are not so fortunate. In fact, 75 percent of prison inmates are high school dropouts and like them, I was in danger of becoming another statistic.

"Shortly after starting the class I stopped seeing my living situation as a failure and started to see it as an advantage. Without having to worry about struggling to make ends meet, and the help and patience of the GED instructors, I soon took the exam and passed with impressive scores. Although the decision to take the first step towards improving my life was mine, I know I could not have done it on my own.

"With the economy in a state of decline, adult education has become increasingly important. Instead of seeking to limit programs, such as the one offered by Advent House, we should be thinking of ways to promote them. With education comes employment opportunity. If people can support themselves, they won't need the government to do it for them. All they need, like me, is a chance.

"Presently I am in my second semester at Lansing Community College. I passed my first semester with a GPA that earned me a spot on the dean's list, and hope to remain on that list for semesters to come. I have a stable job as a pharmacy technician, and plan to have my associates degree as a paralegal within the next few years. I am a perfect example of how beneficial adult education can be, and consider my discovery of Advent House the best thing that ever happened to me. They helped me realize that what I thought was a tragedy, was actually my chance to grow up. If I had to pick the most important lesson I've learned this past year, it would be to seize opportunity when it comes my way. If you cower before change, you will forever be standing still. Never again will I stand still while my life passes me by."


Tutors and Meal Providers

The GED Academy needs tutors in all subject areas. No prior teaching experience is necessary just a little bit of patience. Contact Toni Townshend, Literacy Director, at 517-485-4722 if interested.

Our Weekend Day Shelter is in need of meal providers. Meal providers provide one meal per month for approximately 150 persons. Interested organizations should contact Susan Cancro at 517-485-4722. 


Neighborhood Events We need volunteers for several neighborhood fundraisers throughout the calendar year: Just Desserts, Westside Garden Tour and the Westside Home Tour. Volunteers are needed to assist with planning, publicity and securing advertising/sponsorships as well as logistics on the day of the event(s). Interested parties should contact Susan Cancro at 517-485-4722.

An Evening of Lessons and Carols 

On Sunday, December 8 at 4:00 PM, an Evening of Lessons and Carols will be presented by the Okemos Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir and Bell Choirs, accompanied by organ, harp, and flute. The Festival tells the story of Christmas by lessons, carols, and hymns. Not only will this be a musical gift to the community, but it will also benefit Advent House's important work.

For more information, visit



Advent House Ministries prides itself on providing valuable services to the local Lansing community. But we can’t do it without you. Your donation, even the smallest amount, will help.

If you would prefer, you may also send a check or money order to the address below.

Thank you for your continued support!

Don’t have the resources to donate? Use GoodSearch and they will donate about one cent to Advent House for every search you make.

GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!

743 N. Martin Luther King Blvd. 
Lansing, MI 48915



Find us on Facebook




Susan Cancro, Executive Director

Allyson Bolt, Director PSH, VA Programs, CAPR

Toni Townshend, Literacy Director

Peter Frahm, Webmaster