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Tag Archive | "North Kent Connect"

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.

 

 

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Pastors square off again for neighbors in need


The popular game show fundraiser, Celebrity Squares, raised more than $55,000 for North Kent Connect.

Local pastors delighted an audience of 500 community members at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park last week to raise funds for North Kent Connect, a 43-year-old nonprofit organization that connects people to resources they need to thrive.

 The fourth annual fundraiser event featured 11 hilarious pastors from Rockford, Sparta, and Cedar Springs for an encore round of “Celebrity Squares.” The raucous competition netted more than $55,000 to benefit the food and empowerment programs of North Kent Connect (NKC, formerly North Kent Community Services).

“Outstanding local pastors give their time and talent each year to raise money for northern Kent County,” said Claire Guisfredi, executive director at NKC. “Because of our generous community and business sponsors, North Kent Connect is able to improve the lives of many people and help them reach economic independence. We are truly blessed to have such support.”

The performing pastors were: Jeff Amlotte, Mamrelund Lutheran; Jeff DeRyke, Bridgeway Community; Fr. Stephen Durkee, Our Lady of Consolation; Karen Fitz LaBarge, North Kent Presbyterian Ben Taylor, Sparta Baptist; Fr. Tony Pelak, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Laurie TenHave-Chapman, First Congregational; Jason Peterson, St. Peter’s Lutheran; Justin Rowland, Rockford Baptist Church; Fr. Mark Peacock, St. Patrick Parnell; Inge Whittemore, East Nelson United Methodist.

Founded in 1973, North Kent Connect is committed to improving the lives of all people in northern Kent County by providing access to basic needs and promoting economic independence through its educational classes. NKC hosts several partner agencies including West Michigan Works!, Arbor Circle, and Mel Trotter Ministries. Visit www.nkconnect.org for more information.

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North Kent Community Services takes new name


N-North-Kent-connect1-logo

It began in 1973 as Rockford Community Services. Sometime in the 1980s it became North Kent Service Center. Then, in 2010, it changed its name to North Kent Community Services, to better reflect the fact it was serving the northern Kent community—from 6 Mile Rd north to the county line at 22 Mile Rd—with food, shelter, utilities support, clothing and more.

Now, in 2017, a bigger change is happening. Not only is it changing its name to North Kent Connect, it is also opening a store to the general public.

“People had difficulty remembering the name North Kent Community Services since it was so long,” explained Claire Guisfredi, Executive Director at North Kent Connect. “We needed something shorter that describes what we do. North Kent Connect does that.”

North Kent Connect connects people to the resources they need–anything from food to job training to fellowship–to help residents in northern Kent County meet basic needs and work towards economic independence.

In order to help even more people in the community, they are opening North Kent Connect Store on Friday, August 4. Anyone can shop there for high-quality, gently-used clothing and household goods at affordable prices. It will be located at 10075 Northland Drive NE. Every purchase will help local families better their lives through North Kent’s empowerment programs.

However, the store has a unique buying proposition. Not only can items be purchased at affordable prices, North Kent Connect clients can also receive store credit by volunteering in the community or taking classes. The organizations’ V.I.P. plan for clients supports the initiative of three-ways-to-pay: Volunteer, Invest or Purchase.

Guisfredi said, “Financial struggles can be a very humbling experience. Shopping at North Kent Connect Store serves as a reminder that everyone has something to offer. It gives our clients dignity knowing that they can give back in some way–through volunteering, investing in themselves (by taking a class), or purchasing items. The North Kent Connect Store is an exciting opportunity for us. It will help the community become aware of all that we offer here. Also, the store will offer job skills training for special needs young adults.”

North Kent Connect Store will be open to the public (beginning August 4) on Tuesday and Friday from 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m. Clients only can shop Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

 

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