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Tag Archive | "North Kent Community Services"

Thrive program to start in Cedar Springs


 

North Kent Community Services is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Cedar Springs Public Schools. Beginning in February, NKCS will offer its successful Thrive Empowerment Program on the Cedar Springs campus, thanks to a generous offer of classroom space from Superintendent Dr. Laura Van Duyn.

“This is an excellent opportunity to help women with children living in Cedar Springs achieve their livable wage and educational goals,” said NKCS Program Director Chérie Elahl.

NKCS launched the Thrive Empowerment program in September 2014. Since then, several women have obtained or are working toward obtaining their high school diplomas, some are furthering their post-secondary education, and others have found better paying jobs.

“One of our participants described Thrive as a family of women,” said Cherie. “Thrive is an opportunity for the group members to work on their goals without the distraction of everyday life and with the support of other women who are in very similar situations. It’s powerful and beautiful to see what happens when our participants start to believe in themselves.”

The program sessions include financial literacy, connections to resources in Kent County, and time to work on goals in a group environment. One of the favorite classes involves mindfulness for parenting; the participants learn how to parent without anger and have a calmer home environment. Thrive is open to all women with children who live in northern Kent County. There are no income guidelines. “Having participants from different walks of life really enriches the group dynamics as well as the Thrive experience,” explains Chérie.

To learn more about the Thrive Empowerment Program, contact Chérie Elahl at cherie.elahl@nkcs.org or at 616-866-3478 ext. 105. The new cohort will begin in February 2016. Make a New Year’s resolution to reach your goals in this life-changing program. Class sizes are limited so call soon!

 

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Seats and feet drive


 

Collecting socks, underwear, and more at NKCS

North Kent Community Services is once again asking residents to help families in need during their “Seats and Feet” drive.

“Socks and underwear, along with pajamas and mittens, are the items most requested by our struggling families,” said Claire Guisfredi, Executive Director at North Kent Community Services. “Many of our families are working but still cannot make ends meet. With winter coming, help us keep children warm by covering their seats and feet.”

They ask donors to please use the front door to drop off new and unopened packages of underwear, socks, and pajamas to North Kent Community Services, Monday through Thursday between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. All donations are needed by Monday, December 14 in time for the Christmas store. NKCS is located at 10075 Northland Dr. NE (north of 12 Mile Road) in Rockford.

They are also looking for something you might not think to donate: your tangled or broken Christmas lights.

Your unusable Christmas lights will be recycled for their glass, copper and plastic while NKCS receives a small amount per pound, money that goes toward the food pantry, educational programs and Christmas store.

You can drop off your old or broken Christmas lights seven days a week on the south side of the building, which is attended seven days a week.

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North Kent Pastors got talent


Pastor Craig Carter, of North Kent Community Church, rapped for the audience. Photo courtesy Wise Photography.

Pastor Craig Carter, of North Kent Community Church, rapped for the audience. Photo courtesy Wise Photography.

Local clergy sang musical parodies, danced righteous medleys, rapped with soul, and dazzled with Tae Kwon Do on Thursday, September 24, to raise funds for individuals in need throughout northern Kent County.

The second annual North Kent Pastors got talent event featured a spirited, yet friendly, competition of church leaders, from Rockford, Sparta and Cedar Springs. Close to 500 spectators and dozens of sponsors came to cheer on the pastors and pledge contributions to North Kent Community Services (NKCS).

More than $65,000 was raised, after expenses, for food and educational programs.

Pastor John Huizenga, of River Rock Church, tried some moonwalking. Photo courtesy Wise Photography

Pastor John Huizenga, of River Rock Church, tried some moonwalking. Photo courtesy Wise Photography

“We are grateful that these talented pastors graced the stage to help us raise these funds for families in our community,” said Claire Guisfredi, executive director at NKCS. “North Kent Pastors got talent continues to bring together a host of area leaders and generous community members to make a difference for so many of our own neighbors struggling simply to get by.”

The pastor that won the Judges’ Pick was Pastor Jon Huizenga, from River Rock Church, for his rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.”

The pastor that won the popular vote was Fr. Mark Peacock from St. Patrick Parnell for performing a musical parody about Pope Francis.

North Kent Community Services is located at 10075 Northland Drive, at 12 Mile. For more info on NKCS, visit them online at http://nkcs.org/ or call 616-866-3478.

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Help NKCS provide summer lunches


 

While children across the county are counting down the days until summer vacation, North Kent Community Services is preparing to distribute additional food to families through its Summer Lunch Bag Program.

Nearly 50 percent of students in Kent County are eligible for free or reduced lunch. The additional cost to the parents, many who are working low-wage jobs just to make ends meet, can result in a family having to choose between buying food and paying their bills. That’s where North Kent Community Services comes in.

The Summer Lunch Bag Program provides additional food for children during the months of June, July and August. The bags contain nutritious items such as milk, peanut butter, soup, lunch meat, cheese, juice, cereal and fruit. Each Summer Lunch Bag helps to keep children’s brains and bodies healthy and alert during the summer so they are ready to learn in September when school begins.

North Kent Community Services is asking for donations for its Summer Lunch Bag Program. A special effort is taking place this year to ensure that families are receiving healthy, nutritious food in place of overly-processed and high-fat options. Please donate:

Jam

Lunch Meat

String Cheese

Milk

Whole Wheat Pasta Meals

Canned Fruit in Light Syrup/Juice

Low Sodium Soup

Whole Grain Pancake Mix

Low-Sugar Cereal

Granola Bars

Real Fruit Snacks

Raisins/Dried Fruit

100% Fruit Juice Boxes

Nuts/Trail Mix

Healthy Snacks

North Kent Community Services is also in need of grains such as pasta, rice, cereal and more for its regular food pantry.

Donations can be dropped off Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Please visit our website at www.nkcs.org for more information and a complete list of needs.

North Kent Community Services is the largest food pantry in northern Kent County, serving families and individuals from 5 Mile to 22 Mile Roads and east and west to the county lines. We provide food, clothing, senior meals on wheels, tax preparation and more to those in need.

 

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American Legion presents checks 


Pictured (from L to R) is Pastor Steve Lindeman, Commander Bill Gregones, food pantry volunteer Caroline Bartlett, and food pantry volunteer Sue Harrison. Post photo by J. Reed.

Pictured (from L to R) is Pastor Steve Lindeman, Commander Bill Gregones, food pantry volunteer Caroline Bartlett, and food pantry volunteer Sue Harrison. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

 

The Cedar Springs American Legion Glen Hill Post #247 presented checks last week to both the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association and the Cedar Springs Community Food Pantry.

American Legion Commander Bill Gregones presented Pastor Steve Lindeman, representing the Ministerial Association, with a check for $200, to help with the requests they receive at Christmas time.

Gregones presented Sue Harrison with a second check for $100 for the Community food pantry, which is located at the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, on Main Street, where Lindeman is pastor.

The American Legion makes the presentations annually. “They do quite a bit to make sure the unfortunate have something on the table for the holidays,” noted Gregones.

The Community food pantry serves up to six families per day, up to 30 families per week. The pantry can always use donations. They have needs for personal care products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, etc. Foods they are currently in need of include dry milk, eggs, milk, butter, margarine and venison. “We received no venison this year,” said volunteer Sue Harrison. Any venison would need to be processed through a commercial processor in order for them to use it.

If you’d like to drop off food, the pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Food can also be left near the church office. Anyone wishing to become a client at the center must be referred through North Kent Community Services.

 

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Non-profit seeks committee volunteers


 

North Kent Community Services is seeking individuals who live or work in the Cedar Springs and Sparta communities to serve on its committees for the next year. “I am looking for people who have a passion for our ministry,” said Executive Director Claire Guisfredi. “We have launched our new Thrive Empowerment Program and would like to involve people who have expertise in finance, fund development, law, business, health and human services, human resources, marketing and media/public relations.”

North Kent Community Services serves struggling families with basic life needs all over northern Kent County, from 5 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 committees represent those areas,” said Claire.

Please check the website at www.nkcs.org for the list of committee descriptions. The deadline to apply is December 15.

 

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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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