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Tag Archive | "North Kent Community Services"

North Kent Pastors got talent

The winning act was Fr. Tony Russo and and Fr. Mike Hodges from Our Lady of Consolation with “Soul Man” from The Blues Brothers.

The winning act was Fr. Tony Russo and and Fr. Mike Hodges from Our Lady of Consolation with “Soul Man” from The Blues Brothers.

Cedar Springs Librarian Donna Clark and her daughter, Tamar, enjoying the show. 

Cedar Springs Librarian Donna Clark and her daughter, Tamar, enjoying the show.

Pastors from various churches in the area showed they not only have talent in the pulpit, they are pretty good at helping raise money as well.

North Kent Community Services (NKCS), a food and clothing pantry that serves struggling families in northern Kent County, held its first “North Kent Pastors’ Got Talent” event last month, and hit a homerun.

They had 10 competing teams from churches in Rockford, Sparta and Cedar Springs who sang, danced, and performed stand-up comedy to a crowd of 480 guests to net more than $66,000 for the non-profit. The entire amount will go towards food and educational programming for their clients.

Pastors Keith and Judy Hemmila from Crossfire Ministries in Cedar Springs hamming it up in the photo booth.

Pastors Keith and Judy Hemmila from Crossfire Ministries in Cedar Springs hamming it up in the photo booth.

“The event surpassed our expectations. We have incredibly generous people in Kent County; and some truly talented pastors,” said Claire Guisfredi, executive director at NKCS.

The top winning act was Fr. Tony Russo and and Fr. Mike Hodges from Our Lady of Consolation with “Soul Man” from The Blues Brothers. The runner-up winning act was Fr. Mark Peacock from St. Patrick Parnell singing an old family favorite.

North Kent Community Services ministers to hundreds of families in need each year, especially during the holidays. Anyone wishing to donate can visit their website at www.nkcs.org and click “Donate Now.” They can also mail a check to 10075 Northland Drive NE, Rockford, MI 49341.


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Seats and Feet Drive



Help North Kent Community Services deliver a memorable Christmas to children and teens in northern Kent county by donating socks (all sizes), underwear (all sizes), pajamas (sizes 0-3 months to adult XXL), hats and gloves (all sizes) and personal care items (toilet paper, soap, deodorant, etc…).

Items can be dropped off at Alpha Omega Coffee, Cedar Springs City Hall, Family Cuts N More, Kin of Hope, Cedar Chest, Cedar Springs Library, Geek Worx, Take 2 or at any business with a Seats and Feet Drive sign in the window!

Donations will also be collected by the Christmas Tree at the Chamber’s Come Mingle with Kris Kringle Event in downtown Cedar Springs on Saturday, December 6 from 1:00 to 6:00pm.

Please contact Patricia Troost at (616) 635-1196 or patriciatroost43@gmail.com if you have any questions or would like to help.

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Help stock the Cedar Springs food pantry


Edward Jones is collecting food Oct. 16-Nov. 14


Would you like to have a chance to really make a difference in the community?

Buy a few extra items when you buy groceries this week to donate to the local food pantry and drop them off at our local Edward Jones branch.

The Cedar Springs Community Food pantry, located at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church on Main Street, works in conjunction with North Kent Community Services. They feed hundreds of local families each year. In the past, the food pantry depended on the fall food drive with the local U.S. Post office to help stock their needs. Now that the carriers are based in Rockford, they no longer have the big drive to benefit this pantry, so a local business is stepping in to help restock the shelves.

Edward Jones, 4027 17 Mile Road, Cedar Springs, hopes to collect 1,750 pounds of food for the pantry before November 14. Let’s help meet their goal! Non-perishable foods can be dropped off at their office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Some of the supplies needed include boxed or canned meals such as soups, hamburger helper, macaroni and cheese, rice, pasta, spaghetti sauce; baking and pancake mix; and canned meats. Personal care items such as bar soap, laundry soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and toilet paper will also be accepted, but not weighed.

Call 696-9370 for more information.


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Time to apply to Thrive

North Kent Community Services is seeking individuals to participate in Thrive, its new program to help people become self-sufficient. Thrive is designed to give those who are struggling in northern Kent County the support they need to achieve their life goals, such as owning a home, obtaining a better paying job or furthering their education.

Thrive is for anyone in the NKCS service area, 5 Mile to 22 Mile Roads and east and west to the county lines. You do not need to be a current client of NKCS to qualify for Thrive.

Thrive participants will be meeting in a small group as well as one-on-one with coaches to help answers questions such as:

“How can I save money when I don’t even have enough to pay my bills?”

“What are my strengths and how can these guide me towards my career path?”

“How can I have hope when I feel so hopeless?”

“I see the future I want for myself, but how do I get there?”

Thrive will take place on Monday evenings at NKCS from 6:30-8:30 beginning September 22. Fifteen mothers will be selected for the pilot program. “The best thing we can give our children is a confident and hopeful mother,” said Chérie Elahl, NKCS Program Director. “That is why we are choosing women with children for our Thrive pilot program. Everyone can succeed with proper resources in place as well as with encouragement from others. Through Thrive, participants will have the opportunity to become empowered as they achieve their goals.”

Deadline to apply is Friday, August 15.

Contact Chérie Elahl at cherie.elahl@nkcs.org or 616-866-3478 ext. 109.


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Compass Coach food drive

BUS-Compass-Coach-food-driveA Compass Coach food drive on a casino bus run to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan raised 1,100 pounds in food donations and $300.00 in cash.

North Kent Community Services, at 10075 Northland Dr., was the benefactor of this collection. Kathy Clements, the Business Manager at North Kent, was amazed at the generosity of these casino riders, along with Compass Coach donating the trip in exchange for donations.

“So many folks are short on resources this year, it’s a treat to have local businesses step up and help,” said Clements.

Compass Coach also runs a Winter Coat drive Nov. 29, along with Toys for Tots in December.

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North Kent Community Services seeking board members

North Kent Community Services is seeking board members who live or work in the Cedar Springs, Sparta and Sand Lake communities to serve on its board and committees for the next year.

“I am looking for people who are dynamic and have a passion for our ministry,” said Executive Director Claire Guisfredi. “We are launching our new Empowerment Plan, called From Survive to Thrive and would like to involve people who have expertise in finance, development, law, business, health and human services, human resources and media/public relations.”

North Kent Community Services serves struggling families with basic life needs all over northern Kent County, from 6 Mile Road to 22 Mile Road and east and west to the county lines.

“Since 36 percent of our clients are from Cedar Springs/Sand Lake and 26 percent are from the Sparta/Kent City areas, it is very important that our board and committees represent those areas,” said Claire.

Please visit the website at www.nkcs.org to apply and learn more about this opportunity. The deadline to apply is December 1.


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North Kent Community Services Announces

“From Survive To Thrive” Plan


N-North-Kent-Community-ServicesNorth Kent Community Services, the largest food pantry in northern Kent County, has recently announced a dramatic change in its mission: NKCS will not just give out food to struggling families; it will now try to help people become self-sufficient, a program called “From Survive to Thrive.”

NKCS is planning to accomplish this huge undertaking in two ways: 1) implement a life-coaching program and 2) hire a program director/social worker to connect clients to educational resources in the community.

“Many of our clients do not know how to move themselves toward self-sufficiency,” said Executive Director Claire Guisfredi. “They may be lacking functional life skills which perpetuates the poverty cycle.”

Clients will be paired with a volunteer life coach who will meet with them weekly and help establish clear, attainable goals. “Because our clients’ problems are so overwhelming, it helps to have someone listen, help identify the root causes and sort out the best plan of action,” said Claire. “Our clients need someone to walk alongside them, cheering them on, guiding them, believing in their abilities and holding them accountable.” The life coaches will guide the clients to the most appropriate community resources, such as classes in budgeting, parenting and resume writing.

“From Survive to Thrive” will add an extra $72,000 in the budget for 2014. “I am out in the community creating awareness and raising funds for enhanced mission as well as current food programs,” said Claire. “The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Please consider NKCS for your year-end giving.”

“Through the Empowerment Coaching Program, we expect North Kent Community Services to be the ‘go to’ place in northern Kent County for your neighbors not just to survive, but thrive,” said Claire.


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Food pantry distributes backpacks to kids

Ally Krakowski (right) and sister Abby dropping off the proceeds from Ally’s Charity Bazaar for North Kent Community Services.

Ally Krakowski (right) and sister Abby dropping off the proceeds from Ally’s Charity Bazaar for North Kent Community Services.

From North Kent Community Services


“I can’t believe it. They’ve done it again,” says Claire Guisfredi, Executive Director of North Kent Community Services (NKCS). She was looking at the rows and rows of backpacks, all lined up on tables and stuffed with school supplies, ready for distribution. “Do you know what are the two best things about this community? People step up when there’s a need and they do so without seeking recognition,” she said.

A month before, those tables were empty. NKCS sent out the appeal for school supplies and the community stepped up in droves. “It wasn’t just mothers shopping for their own children who responded,” says Claire. “Business owners and physicians took up collections at their offices, children bought supplies with their own allowances, grandparents saw the sign on the marquee and also helped. We even received checks from the farthest regions of our county, such as Kent City.”

One enterprising 5th grader at Our Lady of Consolation School, Ally Krakowski, initiated a Charity Bazaar. She sold craft items, baked goods and lemonade with the proceeds going to NKCS. She stopped by with her mom, sisters, and a check for $40.31.

More than 450 children in grades K-8 all over northern Kent County picked up a backpack, ready to begin the rigors of school with the necessary supplies. “I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate this help,” said one mother of two daughters. “My husband has been off work for six months now and it’s been tough. I’m cleaning houses to earn some money, but we don’t have enough for all the school supplies my girls need.”

The backpack distribution was a community effort, involving not just donors but volunteers led by Daryl Nederveld. They organized all of the backpacks and spent hours sorting and stuffing. The Tri-County Junior Eagles were one of the groups that helped with distribution.

“Thank you to the communities of Cedar Springs, Sparta, Rockford, Belmont, Kent City, Sand Lake, Greenville, Belding, Gowen, Casnovia, Comstock Park, Ada, Cannonsburg, and Parnell for stepping up to the plate,” Claire said. “We could not do it without you. Literally.”

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Gently used items needed at North Kent Community Services

Poverty is everywhere. It’s not just impacting the inner city anymore; it’s becoming more prevalent in our own backyard. North Kent Community Services is dedicated to helping our neighbors in need, but we can’t do it alone.
“We see that many of our clients are getting jobs, but they are low paying jobs that can’t sustain a family,” says Claire Guisfredi, executive director of NKCS. “Our families come to us for food, clothing and personal care items, the things that many of us take for granted.”
NKCS depends on community donations to supply our clients with these everyday necessities. We are currently in need of:
•     Gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories
•     Gently used household items and linens
•     Child-friendly food items (e.g., cereal, juice, peanut butter)
•     Personal care items (e.g., shampoo, soap, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products)
You can make a difference in our local community. As you clean out your closets and garage this summer, please consider donating your gently used items to NKCS. Drop off all food and other items Monday-Friday, 8:00 to 6:00. We are located at 10075 Northland Dr. NE (north of 12 Mile Road.)
Thank you for supporting NKCS as we serve your friends, family and neighbors.
North Kent Community Services is the largest food pantry in northern Kent County, serving families and individuals from 6 Mile to 22 Mile Roads. We provide food, clothing, senior meals on wheels, tax preparation and more to those in need.
For more information on NKCS, please visit www.nkcsc.com. Follow us on Facebook at North Kent Community Services and on Twitter at @nksc.

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Easter basket supplies needed

North Kent Community Services is collecting items to make 500 Easter Baskets for children in northern Kent County. We would appreciate donations of the following new items by March 22:

• Candy or Fruit Snacks

• Easter Baskets and Grass

• Small Stuffed Animals ~ Beanie Baby size

• Bubbles and Sidewalk Chalk

• Jump Ropes and Balls

• Crayons, Colored Pencils, Markers & Coloring Books

• Books, Stickers, Erasers

• Small Cars & Trucks ~ Small Dolls

• Any other suitable items for children ages 1 – 10

Please contact Sandy Waite, Executive Director, at 616.866.3478 ext. 100 or sandy.waite@nkcsc.com with any questions.



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