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North Kent Connect expanding to offer more resources for families

Construction on the 12,000-square foot addition is expected to be completed in February of 2021.
Credit: Provided

ROCKFORD, Mich. — North Kent Connect (NKC) is expanding its building to offer more resources for families.

Construction on the 12,000-square foot addition is expected to be completed in February of 2021.

NKC held a private groundbreaking Monday morning, marking the public phase of the "NKC Building Connections" campaign. According to a press release, donations from local businesses, organizations, and individuals led the campaign to reach 91% of its $2.9 million goal. There is just $258,000 left to close the gap.

“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.”

The expansion will include the addition of Family Promise/North Kent IHN Day Center, which is 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.

"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, which is open to the public, will also 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 Farm Stand, which is located inside of the thrift store, will have more space for fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and other grocery items. NKC offers these items on two price points to ensure everyone has the option to purchase healthy foods within their budgets. 

The NKC Market Pantry, which is open to 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.

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.

Finally, 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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