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North Kent Connect is bigger and better

12,400-square-foot addition offers more resources for families in northern Kent County

North Kent Connect held a ribbon cutting last week to celebrate their expansion. Courtesy photo.

ROCKFORD, Mich., May 26, 2021. North Kent Connect (NKC), 10075 Northland Drive, Rockford, held an open house for donors and community members last Wednesday, May 26, to celebrate the new expansion.

Thanks to generous local businesses, organizations, and individuals, the campaign reached its $3.4 million goal in April 2021. Construction was completed in early May.

“This expansion was 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 have made this happen.”

 An overview of their store. Courtesy photo.

Highlights of the expansion include:

• The Thrift Store (open to the public) has doubled in size to offer even 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.

Photo shows the grand opening of their farm stand. Courtesy photo.

• The Farm Stand (open to the public and located inside the Thrift Store) has increased space for fresh, locally-sourced fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grocery items from more than 20 farms throughout Michigan. Two price points are offered to ensure that everyone has the option to purchase healthy food within his or her budget.

• The Pantry (for NKC clients) has doubled in size, allowing for more fresh, healthy food distribution to meet the increasing number of new clients. A new teaching kitchen helps clients and community members make great use of their fresh foods and pantry staples. 

• A licensed kitchen is now on site for repackaging dry goods and pantry items that arrive in bulk. Items are sold in the Farm Stand, as well as distributed in the Pantry to NKC clients.

• Family Promise/North Kent IHN Day Center. 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.

“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.

• Arbor Circle, a mental-health and substance-abuse services provider for adolescents, adults, and families in northern Kent County, has an expanded  NKC location, its own entrance and hours of operation.

• West Michigan Works! Has 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, and assistance filing for unemployment. 

NKC now has the space for additional community partners that will complement NKC services. 

About North Kent Connect

North Kent Connect (formerly North Kent Community Services) is a nonprofit organization that envisions a community of thriving people and connects people to the resources they need to move forward. 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! and Arbor Circle. To learn more, visit nkconnect.org.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union


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