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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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