With its second outreach, God’s Kitchen, a program of Catholic Charities West Michigan, is now serving hot meals to those in need in northern Kent County. Every Thursday evening, God’s Kitchen North, located at Our Lady of Consolation (OLC) Parish’s family center, 4865 Eleven Mile, Rockford, is open between 6-7 p.m., where a no-cost dinner is served to anyone who visits.
The first outreach opened in April 2009 at St. John Vianney Parish in Wyoming.
“Our ongoing goal is to better serve the communities in the 11-county area of the Grand Rapids Diocese by partnering with area churches,” said Deborah Sanderlin Nykamp, president of Catholic Charities West Michigan. “Our agency’s outreach is constantly growing and we’re thankful for this opportunity to expand our food programs by going into communities to help feed those who may be struggling.”
The dinners, including a salad, main course and vegetables, are prepared at God’s Kitchen in downtown Grand Rapids and transported to the church ready-to-serve. Homemade desserts await guests at the end of their meals, compliments of OLC parish members. Parish volunteers welcome guests, invite them to be seated, serve beverages and food, and make everyone feel comfortable. The atmosphere is restaurant-like, where neighbors casually dine and chat with each other.
Northern Kent County, including Rockford, has been hard hit by the struggling economy,” said Todd Oatley, one of the OLC coordinators. “Perhaps for the first time in their lives, people right in our own neighborhoods have to choose between obtaining prescriptions or paying utilities and buying groceries. This is why God’s Kitchen North is such a blessing. By offering dinner every week to those individuals and families who are facing tough financial times, we can at least help ease some of the stress they feel.
“I hope anyone who can make it, does come to enjoy a great dinner and good company. Everyone is welcomed.”
Catholic Charities West Michigan provides help and creates hope throughout the 11-county Diocese of Grand Rapids, without regard to religion, ethnicity or background.