Updated: Jun 4, 2021
We're saying goodbye and saying hello!
From our current Executive Director, Michael Reed:
I want to let you know about an important transition coming up for my family, and for the Maker’s Place. As many of you know, I moved with my wife to Trenton in 2018, with a vision of working collaboratively to launch a new kind of initiative: a faith-based organization called the Maker’s Place. Our mission was to seek out where God was already at work, and then help catalyze an abundant community for all God’s children, especially those living in economic poverty.
Three years later, that mission has come to life: we’ve launched a nonprofit diaper bank and resource center for families with infants and toddlers. We’re now providing free diapers, wipes, and baby formula for 2,000 children a year. We’ve established a Board of Directors, hired staff, cultivated an amazing volunteer team, and built relationships centered in mutuality and joy with families through our Diaper Depot. I couldn’t be more proud to have a hand in founding this incredible organization, and to serve as its Executive Director.
As I sometimes joke with our team, ‘The Maker’s Place is constantly making changes.’ That’s true for our diaper bank in more ways than one: we’ve got a leadership change coming up.
Not too long ago, my wife was offered a teaching position at Phillips Academy Andover, a private residential high school just outside of Boston. It’s a dream setup for her: she’ll be an Instructor in Philosophy and Religious Studies, designing her own curriculum and working with bright young learners. After prayer, conversation, and discernment, we’ve decided that she should take the job. Our family will move to Massachusetts later this summer. I will formally end my time on staff with the Maker’s Place on June 30th.
While I’m excited about the new opportunity ahead for my family, this move is an emotional one for me. It’s tough to step away from our Trenton community, and from my Greater New Jersey family. Yet I’m full of gratitude. Together, we’ve proven that if we take what we have—even if it doesn’t seem like much at the start—and connect it with others, God can multiply it for God’s purposes. With your help, we’re now distributing 15,000 diapers a month, along with twenty thousand baby wipes, baby formula, and other items. In the last few years, we’ve collected 350,000 diapers, and nearly half a million baby wipes. Better still, our member families have joined into the cycle of reciprocity. Community members are sharing what they have—clothing, food, unused diapers that no longer fit, and hours and hours of volunteer time. This is what we mean when we talk about abundant community. I’m encouraged because that community is so strong. In fact, today I’m excited to announce the new leaders of the Maker’s Place! After prayer and discernment, the Maker’s Place is excited to announce not one, but two new Co-Directors for our nonprofit organization: Alyssa Ruch and Callie Crowder. Together, these two Co-Directors will manage our growing organization, as we continue to add new programs, connect with new community members, and move into new spaces for ministry and social service. (Rev. Susan Victor, a United Methodist Deacon and the full-time Director of Counselling Services at Womanspace, will continue to serve on our board and volunteer with our team.)
Alyssa is new to the Maker’s Place. She’s a recent graduate of Drew Theological Seminary, and a Candidate in the Deacon track of the United Methodist Church. This past month, Alyssa married Rev. Jesse Ruch, and will be moving to the central Jersey area this summer. She’s passionate about building bridges with people of diverse backgrounds. Alyssa brings a great mind for organization, and a heart for empathic listening and ministry with people who are struggling in different areas of life.
Callie Crowder has been serving for over a year and a half as our Assistant Director. Callie is a lifelong Trentonian; we attended seminary together at Princeton Theological Seminary. Callie is stepping up into a Co-Director position, and brings with her a concern for those impacted by the political economy of racism and oppression, and a passion for seeing all people reach their full potential as beloved children of God. She’s already got big plans for new forms of community, including a Sister Circle, where women can share their joys and struggles with one another.
I couldn’t be more excited about the team we’re putting together, and I hope you are too! If you’re a praying person, please pray for our new leaders. And make sure you continue to show your support, by hosting a diaper drive for us this Christmas, by supporting us financially, and by adding your presence as a volunteer in the months to come. I’ll be doing that too! With the permission of our Board and staff team, I’ll be offering my time as a remote volunteer through our transition period, because I believe in the work we’ve started together. I’m committed to seeing the Maker’s Place continue to move forward. We’ve got great things ahead!
In case you’re curious, I'm also looking forward to a sabbatical year for the next 12 months, starting in July. I’m going to take extra time to be with my 16 month-old daughter, and work on some writing projects. As you probably know, I’m a United Methodist pastor, and I plan to continue serving as a pastor and leader in the New England Annual Conference.
If you’ve been impacted or inspired by the Maker’s Place over the past three years, we’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at michaelreed [at] makersplace.org, or talk with members of your church or workplace about how you can get involved with us in the future. Some help plant, others water, but God—and the abundant community, through whom God works—bring the growth.
Thanks, and talk to you soon,
Rev. Michael Reed