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New, unwrapped gifts needed for Tree of Hope


 

Donations requested by Dec. 11 to fill thrift store for neighbors in need in northern Kent County

 

Everybody should be able to spread holiday cheer, regardless of income. North Kent Connect (NKC) wants to make the process of gift giving and receiving more affordable and empowering than ever before.

Through its “Tree of Hope” program, NKC is calling on individuals, organizations and businesses in the area to drop off new and unwrapped items at its Northland Drive store in Rockford. Items such as pajamas, socks, underwear, sheets, blankets, towels, winter outerwear, and boots can then be purchased by NKC’s in-need clients at an extremely reduced cost. Parents will be able to shop for their children and maintain a sense of dignity while doing so.

 “We need many items, particularly basic necessities, to place in our Christmas Store so our families have variety and options,” said Claire Guisfredi, executive director of North Kent Connect. “Please help us Give the Gift of Dignity this holiday season.” All items should be dropped off to NKC by Monday, December 11.

 The Tree of Hope concept is an extension of NKC’s unique “V.I.P.” model where qualified clients can volunteer (V) or invest (I) their time taking special classes to earn store credits in order to purchase (P) store items. Leftover items from the Christmas Store will be later sold to the public at regular prices, with proceeds benefiting NKC’s food and empowerment programs. (Toys will still be available at no cost through the “Toys for Tots” program to qualified NKC clients.)

 “Programs like Tree of Hope give people a truly unique opportunity to purchase needed items with pride,” said Guisfredi. “Our V.I.P. model has fast become a strongpoint for our clients, and continues to be a success not just for us, but for our entire community—throughout the holidays and all year long.”

 For more information, contact Cassie LaMacchia, NKC Community Engagement Coordinator, at cassie.lamacchia@nkconnect.org or 616-866-3478, ext. 355.

 

 

Posted in Home for the HolidaysComments (0)

Hunters needed to help the hungry


 

By Keith Creagh and Phillip Knight

Keith Creagh is the director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Dr. Phillip Knight is the executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan

Michigan’s hunters know firsthand the pride and satisfaction of being able to bring home a nutritious meal of wild game to the family supper table. They also know how hard it can be sometimes to provide that food.

Imagine trying to feed your family without the available means.

That struggle – with its stress, disappointment and anxiety – becomes particularly tough on families during the holiday season each year, with increased demands on a household budget.

Nearly 1.5 million Michigan residents – 15 percent of our residents and 18 percent of our children – live with the stress of not knowing when they will eat again – of not having a secure food source.

As we head toward the holidays and the firearm deer hunting season, hunters can help make a positive impact on this problem by donating venison to a family in need through Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger.

Since 1991, this group has helped connect donors, wild game processors and charities that feed people in need.

The board of this all-volunteer, unpaid organization – sportsmen and women concerned about making a positive difference in their communities – works to coordinate processing of deer harvested by hunters with local, licensed game processors throughout Michigan.

Over the past quarter century, food banks, pantries and shelters have distributed an estimated 608,000 pounds of venison donated by hunters. This translates to more than 3 million meals provided to struggling families.

Hunter donations of venison add up to over 20,000 pounds each year, providing over 100,000 meals.

Hunters can donate a whole deer, or a portion, by visiting a participating game processor. A list of processors involved in the program is available by calling the Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger hotline at 1-586-552-6517 or by visiting www.sportsmenagainsthunger.org

Game processors are reimbursed by the pound for the meat they process. They also work with local food banks or soup kitchens to distribute ground venison.

Monetary donations can be made to the Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger program when purchasing a hunting or fishing license or by making a Help Feed the Hungry donation at www.michigan.gov/estore.

These funds help cover the costs of processing, packaging and transporting donated venison.

This year, with the generosity of hunters – and the financial support of hunters and non-hunters – 32 different community agencies have received a total of over 20,000 pounds of ground venison. This significant donation is from just 16 different processors working with the organization.

The Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM) is an important partner in the Sportsmen Against Hunger program, working to distribute donated venison across the state.

This annual initiative aligns with the council’s mission to create a food-secure Michigan, where each person has access to proper nutrition acquired by dignified means.

The council is uniquely positioned to help distribute the donated venison. Last year, the FBCM’s seven partner food banks, distributed more than 181 million pounds of food to over 2,800 food pantries in every Michigan county.

Michigan food banks work with Sportsmen Against Hunger to help bring quality meat to the tables of people in need. Meat contains protein which ranks among the food items most needed by those without regular access to food.

The FBCM looks forward to working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Sportsmen Against Hunger to grow this program, so more people have access to wholesome food.

In addition to the DNR and the Food Bank Council of Michigan, the program is sponsored by several organizations, including Safari Club International, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Bow Hunters Association, Ted Nugent World Bowhunters and the United Methodist Men’s Club.

Michigan is home to a proud, long-standing hunting tradition. Last year, more than half a million hunters in Michigan took to the woods during the firearm deer season. They brought home roughly 165,000 deer.

With the firearm deer season again upon us, we urge hunters to consider donating to Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger. It’s a gratifying way to help friends and neighbors by providing healthy venison meals to families who need food.

Struggling families across Michigan will deeply appreciate your generosity, especially during the holiday season.

Posted in OutdoorsComments (0)

Rotary donations to Hurricane Harvey victims


The Cedar Springs Rotary collected donations for Hurricane Harvey victims last week. Courtesy photos.

Cedar Springs Rotarians join with you and many others with their sadness on the natural disasters happening in the US. We worked together to offer drop off sites last week for donations to send to those suffering in Texas from Hurricane Harvey. There were locations at many local Rotarians offices to drop off items. Locations included Choice One Bank, Independent Bank, State Farm, Cedar Springs Area Parks and Recreation and Northern Physical Therapy. The items collected include baby food, diapers, kids clothes, medicine, work gloves and other basic needs. The items are being sent directly to Texas with a local church headed down on a mission trip. We will be monitoring the situations there and with the other disasters and their long term affects and be considering future endeavors to help our fellow Americans in need.

Rotarians are called to service projects and put “service above self.” The group works to serve local projects, like the Cedar Springs Library youth room and the pavilion in Morley Park, and international projects as well. We welcome community members to help in these projects and encourage them to consider joining us if they are feeling called to serve others. We have a variety of membership options and welcome a conversation with you to see if it is a fit for you. Please check out the Facebook page “Cedar Springs Rotary Club” to see more about what we do or visit us at Red Flannel and enjoy a Chicken dinner before the parade.

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Construction at Velzy Park


Five new picnic tables were donated anonymously to Solon Township for Velzy Park. Courtesy photo. A new walking trail is under construction at Solon’s Velzy Park. Courtesy photo.

Five new picnic tables were donated anonymously to Solon Township for Velzy Park. Courtesy photo.

Construction on a new walking trail is underway at Velzy Park, located at 15185 Algoma Ave NE. The park surrounds Solon Township Hall, and is named for what the area used to be called.

And that’s not the only thing that’s new. “Our Park Committee is very excited and thankful about 5 picnic tables that were anonymously donated to our Park a week or so ago,” said Mary Lou Poulsen, Solon Township Clerk, and a member of the Solon Park Committee.

On June 10, Solon will celebrate the new walking trail with a ribbon cutting, and a community-wide yard sale and picnic. The picnic will take place at noon, with the ribbon cutting and cake to follow. Suggested donations for the picnic will be $4 for individuals, and $10 for families.

A new walking trail is under construction at Solon’s Velzy Park. Courtesy photo.

A new walking trail is under construction at Solon’s Velzy Park. Courtesy photo.

The park is still in phase one, which features walking trails, a restroom building and parking. Phase two will be a playground and three barn relocations. Phase three will be the Farmer’s market and picnic shelter; and native prairie restoration.

Memorial benches will soon be available to purchase. Watch solontwp.org for info. If you’d like to make a tax deductible donation for the park, send it to Solon Township and designate it for Velzy Park.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (0)

Cedar Springs food pantry seeks donations


Need for emergency donations at all-time high

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25: 40).
This message from Matthew describes the guiding principle for the more than 30 volunteers who provide assistance, compassion, a listening ear, and comfort to those families who come to the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry, at Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, on the corner of Main and Church Streets.
The Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry, a staple in the community for 26 years, was started at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church in 1985 for families who had suffered a house fire.  More volunteers were needed to help as the pantry began to assist more clients in need.  Today, up to 30 families a week, from all parts of Northern Kent County, can be referred to the pantry by North Kent Service Center to receive a week’s work of food and essentials.
Today the pantry “store” is located in the basement of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, in several converted nursery rooms and the choir robe storage room.  Several freezers and refrigerators hold baked goods, chicken donated by church members, venison donated by area hunters, and hotdogs, hamburger, and other meats. The pantry shelves are stocked with food and staples bought by pantry volunteers, food from a faithful volunteer who has a “coupon mission,” foods from government commodities, and donations from individuals and food drives in the community.
However, with the distressed state of the economy and the job market crisis, the need for emergency food support is at an all time high. Food prices and transportation costs have sky rocketed. Children will soon be out of school for the summer adding to the need for extra food for families.
The pantry needs help! In addition to food items or cash donations, the pantry is always in need of personal care items such as dish soap, laundry soap, tooth brushes, toothpaste, bar soap, toilet paper, facial tissue, deodorants, shampoo, and feminine hygiene items.
Donated items or money can be dropped off at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church office any time during office hours Monday through Friday. The pantry accepts checks made out to the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, and in the memo line put “Community Food Pantry.”

Posted in NewsComments (1)

Donations needed for Easter baskets


North Kent Community Services (formerly the North Kent Service Center) is collecting items in February and March to make 500 Easter Baskets for the children they serve in northern Kent County. They are in need of the following items by March 31:
•    Candy or Fruit Snacks
•    Easter Baskets and  Grass
•    Small Stuffed Animals ~ Beanie Baby size
•    Bubbles and Sidewalk Chalk
•    Jump Ropes and Balls
•    Markers, Colored Pencils and Coloring Books
•    Small Cars and Trucks ~ Matchbox/Hot Wheels size
•    Any other suitable Easter Basket items for children ages 1 – 10
NKCS is located at 10075 Northland Drive, just north of 12 Mile Road. They are open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call (616) 866-3478 for more info.

Posted in NewsComments (0)


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