NewsPay It Forward


From homeless to helping homeless students: Mother making ‘impact’ in Grand Haven

Posted at 3:30 PM, Nov 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-25 16:20:12-05

GRAND HAVEN, Mich., -- When Lisa Cober found herself homeless a few years go, she also found the inspiration to help hundreds of homeless students in Ottawa County.

"We left literally with backpacks, and bags full of clothes and that was it," she said. "It was kind of one of those situations where it's eye-opening."

Now back on her feet, she's been working quietly behind the scenes, using her own money to buy and collect basic hygiene items and backpacks to give away to students who are struggling.

"They need to concentrate on being a kid and learning. That's their job," Cober told FOX 17 News. "Those things can make a world of difference."

Cober launched the "Grand Haven Impact Program" last March at her Alma Mater, Grand Haven High School. The program aims to provide daily hygiene items, along with socks, shoes and even Prom dresses to students in need.

"They don't have to pay for anything, all they have to do is let their teachers know, or a counselor that they're in need," said Cober. "I just get the requests and I fill them."

Cober works closely with Eva Clark, a teacher and her liaison at the school to identify and distribute the items when needed.

"If our students basic needs aren't being met, then they're not going to be successful in school,"explained Clark. "At the end of this last school year, we had over 1,000 kids that are homeless. We have kids without, and kids that have plenty, so there really was a need. And, Lisa saw that in our community... she's got a very generous heart."


The program expanded to five schools in the district this year. Cober hopes to eventually open up an in-school store where students can come in and "buy" what they need for little or nothing. Ultimately, she plans to get the program licensed as an official non-profit.

"I think every school should have something like this," she said. "If you do one little thing for one student, it can make the biggest impact on their lives."

As the November Pay it Forward Person of the Month, Cober is receiving a $500 prize.

To donate or learn more, call Eva Clark, the High School Liaison at 616-850-6257 or email You can also search "Grand Haven Impact Program" on Facebook.

Know someone who should be featured next month? Nominate them here.

Meet Michelle Haner, our October Pay it Forward Person of the Month.