Sarah Keller became homeless after three months of living in Holt. According to Keller, she moved her family there from Grand Rapids because she received a job offer that she could not pass up. After working at the job for two months, they let her go because they were making cuts. “I was devastated. I was not in a contract so they could fire me whenever they wanted but I figured since they came looking for me and offered me the job I had some job security,” Keller said. Keller and her family had to move to The City Rescue Mission of Lansing for a few weeks until she was able to find another job.
Holt Community Food Bank, located on the grounds of Holt First Presbyterian Church, is the only food bank in Holt and Delhi Township. It was started 20 years ago by two members of the congregation after discovering that there were members in the church who were having difficulties making ends meet. What is so unique about Holt Community Food Bank is that it is exclusively run by volunteers in and outside of the community who are dedicated to serving by donating groceries and helping to prepare bags of food for those who are in need. According to Bonnie Mahieu, the food bank’s coordinator, all donations and food contributions come from people in the community, local businesses, churches, and local grocery stores like Kroger and Meijer. Mahieu also explained that HCFB is only dedicated to serving Holt residents.
For some, in order to enjoy their favorite sports team they need to be in their favorite restaurant or bar enjoying their favorite drinks and appetizers. This increase in customers benefit businesses financially but restaurant owners know not to depend on these customers for sales every weekend because they are “band wagoners” that will stop supporting their team if they stop winning. Michigan State sports have been major players in weekend activities for residents and in nearby Holt and Delhi Township. Holt and Delhi Township are only about 10 miles away from Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, but fans that cannot make it to the game travel to their local bar and grills to enjoy the game with other fans. Restaurant owners take advantage of these customers to help increase their sales by making appetizers and drinks half-off and by purchasing larger televisions so that customers can sit at their tables to relax and enjoy the games instead of having to sit at the bar.
Holt is one of the many school districts that no longer have free or affordable after-school programs. Parents that cannot afford before-and-after care are left cutting their work hours to pick up their children, leaving them home alone, or having family or friends pick them up until they are able to get off work. Unfortunately, Holt Public School District has a strict budget that does not include coverage for free after school programs at every school in the district. Parents can either switch schools or come up with a solution themselves. According to David Hornak, Holt Public Schools superintendent, “keeping in mind how the budget is set up, adding free after-school programs to each school in the district year-round is simply impossible. There has to be money to pay the staff who will lead these programs and money to feed the children who participate in the programs.”
After school programs are not meant to be “babysitters” but they are the reason why crimes committed by young people are decreasing.The lack of after school supervision put children at a higher risk to participate in criminal activity and an array of other problems that could have been prevented because of free after school programs.
Maria Sanchez mother of three Elliott Elementary boys says that she has missed several days of work this week because she is not comfortable with leaving her 8-year-old triplets home alone with the recent burglaries that has happened in the neighborhood.
There seems to be mixed feelings among Holt’s officials and residents on how many retail shopping stores there should be in the area and how long they should stay open. Local officials say that Holt has everything it needs while some residents are fed up with driving a few miles down the highway to the closest shopping area. According to Mary Fuller, a Holt resident, local town officials have been promising for years to open a new grocery store closer to her like Meijer for years but she has yet to see any construction for building one. “I moved to Holt in the ’90s because the school district was great and the taxes were lower than East Lansing. I enjoy living here but I have to drive 25 minutes way to the nearest grocery store if I want to pick up a late-night snack.