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North Kent Connect expands footprint

North Kent Connect expands footprint

Offers new services and additional resources

North Kent Connect (NKC), at the corner of Northland Drive and 12 Mile Road in Rockford, is adding a 12,000-square-foot addition to its building to offer more resources for families in northern Kent County. Construction is expected to be completed in February of 2021. A ceremonial private groundbreaking was held on July 14, and marked the public phase of the NKC Building Connections campaign. Thanks to generous local businesses, organizations, and individuals, the campaign has reached 91 percent of its $2.9-million goal, with just $258,000 left to close the gap.

North Kent Connect rendering by Nugent Builders.

“This expansion is much-needed as we simply outgrew our building,” said Claire Guisfredi, executive director for North Kent Connect. “By nearly doubling our space we can continue to enhance our programs and connect even more people to resources to improve their lives. We are grateful to our numerous partners and supporters who are making this happen.” Highlights of the expansion include:

  • Family Promise/North Kent IHN Day Center (new to NKC). In partnership with local congregations, North Kent Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) provides emergency shelter and basic needs to homeless children and their families while awaiting permanent housing. The families are hosted overnight in churches throughout northern Kent County. During the day, families work out of the Day Center where they have access to computers, a kitchen, laundry area, showers, and a living room.
North Kent Connect construction by Nugent Builders.

“We are grateful for this partnership and grateful for the opportunity to end homelessness, one family at a time,” said Cheryl Schuch, CEO of Family Promise of Grand Rapids.

  • The NKC Thrift Store (open to the public) will double in size to offer more high-quality, affordable clothing and household goods. All store proceeds stay local to provide individuals and families with food, basic needs, and educational programming.
  • The NKC Market Pantry (for NKC clients) will increase to just over twice its current size, allowing for more fresh, healthy food distribution to meet the increasing number of new clients. A new teaching kitchen will help clients and community members make great use of their fresh foods and pantry staples.
  • The NKC Farm Stand (open to the public), located inside the Thrift Store, will have increased space for fresh, locally sourced fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grocery items from more than 20 farms throughout Kent County. Two price points are offered to ensure that everyone has the option to purchase healthy food within their budget.
  • Arbor Circle, a mental-health and substance-abuse services provider for adolescents, adults, and families in northern Kent County, will have an expanded NKC location, and receive its own entrance and hours of operation.
  • West Michigan Works! will have a larger office, a private entrance, and hours of operation to help individuals in Kent County with resumes, cover letters, materials to aid in job searches, as well as assistance filing for unemployment.

Additionally, NKC will have space for additional community partners that will complement NKC services. A grand opening reception is planned for late spring, 2021. For information about the expansion, visit www.nkconnect.org.

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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