Community Outreach

The history of Mel Trotter Ministries


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – On January 19, 1897, on a cold Chicago night, a homeless and intoxicated man named Mel Trotter was walking to the pier to take his own life. He would not get to the pier that night because God had other plans for him and God was going to accomplish those plans through rescue mission ministry. That night, a staff member working a shift outside the Pacific Garden Rescue Mission saw Mel Trotter, grabbed him and took him into the mission. This began an epic journey only borne of God. Mel Trotter went in, found help, hope, love and salvation. He eventually made his way to Grand Rapids to start the Grand Rapids Rescue Mission, now Mel Trotter Ministries, and start 68 other missions along the way. Thank the Lord there was a mission staff outside on that terrible Chicago night in January 1897.

Jesus tells a story about leaving the 99 sheep who are safe to find the one who is lost. He went out to find the one who was lost. During times of extreme weather, as hard as it is to believe, many people are trying to tough it out on the streets for various reasons. We have to do more than just wait inside with the lights on for them to change their mind and come in to the mission. The MTM outreach team will partner with other agencies to reach out and search for those who choose not to come to our doors.

Mel Trotter passed away in 1940 and years later the Mission was renamed Mel Trotter Ministries in his honor. Since then, the Mission services and programs have grown, but the team has remained committed to demonstrating the compassion of Christ through rescue and restoration for anyone experiencing hunger and homelessness. Look at a complete history and timeline of Mel Trotter Ministries on our website here:

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