Books That Build Community

Books That Build Community

For over a hundred years, Mel Trotter Ministries—a Christian-based ministry and shelter in West Michigan—has grown their mission to end homelessness one life at a time. As part of their numerous outreach programs they also host ninety-day devotional studies and provide books to those attending programs at Mel Trotter Ministries or seeking needed services and shelter provided by the iconic non-for-profit organization.

Vice President of Ministry and Outreach, Reverend Leonard McElveen started this initiative and has been growing it for eight years. He’s not only inspiring those he meets to find hope and spiritual guidance through the devotional book groups and classes but encouraging literacy in the community and offering those in need a trusted doorway to ongoing support.

“These studies have impacted many of our people by helping them to see their value and that they have a purpose in this life,” said Reverend McElveen. “The studies work in concern with our church partnership by showing the value of living life in community as opposed to trying to survive in isolation.”

He sees success through the various book-related teachings, programs and literacy donations and shares how spending time in devotional studies brings the community together.

“Personal development is better when we do it in groups,” he said. “We use people from the community to help teach these studies and impact the people that we serve in ways that reveal the power of learning together.

Reverend McElveen always encourages, and welcomes, community members to support this initiative through the donation of books and funds. ‘We are always in need of people to support us in the buying of books for the series” he said. One series can cost over 700 dollars for 60 books. But his heart-fueled initiative is more than a monetary donation. It’s about building a community.

“It’s far more difficult to make progress when we attempt to do it alone,” said Reverend McElveen.  It’s about asking others to give of their time, a precious gift which has impacted so many in need in the West Michigan community. In the words of the man using books to build courage, hope and community:

“Our goal is to get people in community for lifelong growth and development.”

If you would like to contribute to this cause or learn more about how you can get involved, reach out to Reverend Leonard McEleveen at or via


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