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Tag Archive | "North Kent Community Services"

Game show comes to Grand Rapids


Pastor Steve Lindeman, Cedar Springs UMC (left) and Pastor Ken Bremer, Rockford UMC (right), were both part of the game show fundraiser for North Kent Community Services last week. Contestants Lydia Syrba and Dave Jensen with game show host Dean Lichtenwalner.

Pastor Steve Lindeman, Cedar Springs UMC (left) and Pastor Ken Bremer, Rockford UMC (right), were both part of the game show fundraiser for North Kent Community Services last week.
Contestants Lydia Syrba and Dave Jensen with game show host Dean Lichtenwalner.

North Kent Pastors Square Off for food pantry fundraiser

Local pastors entertained community members and leaders to net more than $70,000 (after expenses) for North Kent Community Services Wednesday night, November 2, at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

The third annual fundraising event featured church leaders from Rockford, Sparta, and Cedar Springs stacked in a giant “Tic Tac Toe” square on stage (similar to the old TV show Hollywood Squares) before 550 guests and dozens of sponsors. Proceeds from this lively and hilarious competition benefit the programming and services of North Kent Community Services (NKCS).

“We are so grateful to our local pastors for their willingness to have fun and raise money for people in need in northern Kent County,” said Claire Guisfredi, Executive Director at NKCS. “Each year, our generous community and sponsors step up to ensure NKCS is able to provide resources and lead people to self-sufficiency. We are truly blessed.”

Contestants Lydia Syrba and Dave Jensen with game show host Dean Lichtenwalner.

Contestants Lydia Syrba and Dave Jensen with game show host Dean Lichtenwalner.

The guests were treated to another version of the classic song, “American Pie”—with accompanying slideshow—by the singing duo Pastors Darrin Compagner (Blythefield Christian Reformed Church) and Jon Huizenga (River Rock Church). A new video highlighted how NKCS impacts our local community. Kimberly, one of the participants of the Thrive Empowerment Program, spoke about her journey of transformation because of Thrive.

The game show included guests as contestants trying to win prizes based on the pastors’ correct or incorrect responses. The 11 pastors bantered and bluffed their way throughout the evening, providing comical commentary to the amusement of all the guests. The celebrity square pastors were:

Jeff “Spanky” Amlotte of Mamrelund Lutheran; Paul Bradford, Rockford Reformed; Ken Bremer, Rockford United Methodist; Jeff DeRyke, Bridgeway Community; Fr. Darrel Kempf, Our Lady of Consolation; Steve Lindeman, Cedar Springs United Methodist; Mark Pietscher, Bella Vista; Justin Rowland, Rockford Baptist; Bryan Schneider-Thomas, Peace Lutheran; Laurie TenHave-Chapman, First Congregational Church; Nate Wagner, Sparta Baptist Church.

For pictures of North Kent Pastors Square Off and more information about North Kent Community Services, please visit www.nkcs.org.

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North Kent Pastors Square Off


 

Fundraiser for North Kent Community Services

 

Tickets go on sale Monday, October 3, for the annual fundraiser that helps support North Kent Community Services, the main food pantry in northern Kent County. The event, titled North Kent Pastors Square Off, will take place at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park on Wednesday, November 2, at 6 p.m.

For the last two years, North Kent Community Services (NKCS) had featured local pastors performing different talents to raise funds. This year the stakes are higher as pastors from around northern Kent County square off alongside local contestants to participate in NKCS’s own version of Hollywood Squares to see who can answer the most questions or provide the most convincing bluffs. It is expected to be the biggest year yet with 600 guests.

Local participating Pastors include: Jeff Amlotte, Mamrelund Lutheran; Paul Bradford, Rockford Reformed; Ken Bremer, Rockford United Methodist; Jeff DeRyke, Bridgeway Community; Robert Eckert, Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist; Fr. Darrel Kempf, Our Lady of Consolation; Steve Lindeman, Cedar Springs United Methodist; Mark Pietscher, Bella Vista; Kevin Reed, Grace Evangelical Free; Justin Rowland, Rockford Baptist; Bryan Schneider-Thomas, Peace Lutheran; Laurie TenHave-Chapman, First Congregational United Church of Christ; Nate Wagner, Sparta Baptist.

This year NKCS is also bringing together Pastors Darrin Compagner (Blythefield Christian Reformed Church) and Jon Huizenga (River Rock), former “Pastors Got Talent” rivals, who will open the show with a musical performance that is sure to be second to none.

Tickets for North Kent Pastors Square Off go on sale at 8:00 a.m., Monday, October 3. Seats are limited, so purchase your tickets quickly as they will sell out. Tickets are $50 and include dinner and entrance into Frederik Meijer Gardens.

All proceeds from North Kent Pastors Square Off will go back to NKCS to benefit its food pantry and educational programs. Through the development of these programs, North Kent will not only be able to provide resources for those in need, but will also be able to teach sustainability and self-sufficiency to those in its community.

To purchase tickets, contact Katie Hop at (616) 866-3478. This will be a night you won’t want to miss, so secure your seat now!

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Free home maintenance classes at North Kent Community Services


North Kent Community Services (NKCS) has partnered with Home Repair Services to bring a series of free home maintenance workshops to northern Kent county. These workshops are open to the public; you do not need to be a client of NKCS to participate.

Home Maintenance Checkup

Tuesday, September 27 at 10:00 a.m.

This class and its discussion will give you some of the basics needed for you to begin making your own do-it-yourself fixes around the house.

Basic Drywall Repair

Tuesday, October 4 at 10:00 a.m.

You’ll gain the knowledge and experience for do-it-yourself drywall repairs around your home.

Basic Electrical

Tuesday, October 18 at 10:00 a.m.

You will have an opportunity to do some hands on wiring of an outlet, switch, and a light. You will gain skill sets to do some basic electrical around the home.

These free trainings will be held at North Kent Community Services at 10075 Northland Drive, Rockford. Call (616) 241-2601 for more information and to R.S.V.P. for these workshops.

 

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North Kent Community Services collects school supplies


 

North Kent Community Services (NKCS) has kicked off its annual Back-to-School Drive. Each fall, many students in northern Kent County face the prospect of starting school without adequate supplies, an issue NKCS is addressing with this program.

“By partnering with the churches and community we can ensure that all students have the tools they need to be successful as they start the new school year,” says NKCS Executive Director Claire Guisfredi.

NKCS is collecting new backpacks, notebooks, loose-leaf paper, rulers, pens, pencils, highlighters, erasers, pencil boxes, folders, 3-ring binders, crayons, markers, colored pencils, glue sticks and scissors. These supplies will be distributed to students who are entering Kindergarten through 9th grade at area schools on August 23.

Donations can be dropped off at North Kent Community Services, 10075 Northland Drive NE, Rockford (just north of 12 Mile Road), Monday through Thursday, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The Back-to-School Drive runs now through Thursday, August 18. NKCS is also looking for volunteers to sort donations and help with distribution. To volunteer, contact Cassie LaMacchia at (616) 866-3478 ext. 101 or cassie.lamacchia@nkcs.org.

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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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