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One Township at a Time project launches in Newaygo County

old man with friends

Newaygo County, Michigan, January, 2023

The One Township at a Time project is set to begin in Newaygo County. The project aims to combat social isolation and loneliness in people aged 55 and older by bringing residents together, building natural helping networks and forming social support systems within their geographic community.

Catholic Charities West Michigan was awarded a grant from the Fremont Area Community Foundation Bridging Generations Fund to start the Project on July 1, 2022. One Township at a Time is already actively engaged in both Lilley and Barton Townships with a Seniors Internet Café, Bingo, card games, and potlucks regularly on the calendar. 

Program Director Carol Hart felt it was imperative to get into the rural communities and listen to what the people there had to say.

“We met individually with Barton and Lilley Township residents and listened to them and what ideas they had to make living in their township better for them as older adults,” Hart said. “Together, we developed and implemented a plan for each township.” 

Program Specialist Melissa Feldt joined the Project after working as a Life Enrichment Director for the previous five years.

“I worked in a senior living facility throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Feldt said. “The detrimental effects of being isolated were shocking. Residents told me they didn’t care if they got sick, they just didn’t want to be alone anymore. We want older people to have something to look forward to again. We are thankful to the Fremont Area Community Foundation for giving us the opportunity to do so in Newaygo County.”

Listening Sessions are being planned for January and February in Lincoln, Everett and Big Prairie Townships. Contact Melissa Feldt, program specialist, at for more information.

About Catholic Charities West Michigan

For over seven decades, Catholic Charities West Michigan has been feeding the hungry, counseling those who struggle and building strong families. Through a broad spectrum of social service programs focused on the needs of children and families, CCWM serves residents of 11 counties in West Michigan. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, CCWM has more than 235 employees who work from nine locations and last year touched the lives of more than 35,000 individuals. For more information, visit