Open Door Ministry was founded by John Drouillard in 2000. He and his wife distributed food out of their home. One of the highlights of that ministry was that they filled the trunks of the vehicles with plenty of wonderful food. That tradition continues today.
The current Thursday night distribution of food at Tri City Christian Center, now Connection Church, began in the fall of 2002 and continued until that building was sold in the summer of 2003. During that summer Open Door Ministry operated out of a “circus” type tent which was set up each Thursday at the church’s Hannan Road property. As winter approached that year and the tent began to get cold God made a way for the ministry to rent about 2200 square feet of space in an old warehouse on Lilley Road which was owned by the Greif Corporation. At that time there were about 60-100 families that came for food assistance each week.
These families would come into the building and wait in a small auditorium until their name was called. Then they would sit down each week for a one on one time with volunteers who asked them questions about their food needs and offered prayer. The number of families coming out grew to about 130 with a peak of 180 families at Thanksgiving time.
In 2008-2009 in what is now known as the Great Recession, the Grief Corporation moved out of the warehouse leaving its maintenance up to Open Door Ministry leaders. The building was put up for sale at an asking price of $1.2 million. Even though the occupation of the building was in jeopardy, needy families continued to be served but now the demand was even greater due to the economic situation in Michigan and across the country.
One Wednesday a fire inspector came by and wondered how the building was being used. He was given a quick tour and stated that the ministry was in violation of zoning rules, which did not allow for assembly of people in the building such as a church service. In addition there were a number of safety violations. TV news crews came out to report that the ministry may not be able to continue. After several meetings with Township people and lots of work by volunteers to correct the code violations the new process of having guests drive through our parking lot was begun.
However, something quite remarkable happened. God turned what looked like an impossible situation into the ability to more than double the number of needy families served. Now instead of an average of 130 families with a peak of 180 the ministry was now serving 440 families with a peak of over 500. And this happened just as the economy in Michigan was one of the worst in the country.
In the summer of 2012, the building was purchased by Connection Church at a fraction of the asking price. So the ministry went from renting 2200 square feet to owning the entire building of over 48,000 square feet. When God calls He enables and that is what He has done.
And that is where we are today now serving just over 400 families per week with an average of 20,000 lbs. of food. Volunteers and support coming from throughout this community, from the schools, churches, businesses, service organizations, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, sports teams and so many people who care so much for those in need. God has called this ministry to help families, but not just with food. He has called this ministry, His ministry, to reach out with His love and help people to lift themselves out of poverty where they can support themselves and their families. This website will show you just how that is being done. Over 6,500 families have come for help and 90% of those have had their situation improved so that they no longer need food assistance. And 100% of the glory for that is God’s. Honestly there is nothing we have done but follow His lead. It is simple here at Open Door Ministry, He leads, we follow.