Community Services

More than halfway to its goal, Million Meal March presses on

August 16, 2013 // 0 Comments

Last September, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank embarked on a quest to send an additional one million meals to families in need. The cost of that goal was $238,000. A little less than one year later, the Food Bank has raised more than half that amount. As the Million Meal March enters its second year, Feeding America West Michigan is asking the community to join them in seeing it through. The Million Meal March 10K Trail Hike will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Feeding America West Michigan’s Comstock Park headquarters, 864 West River Center Drive. The Food Bank stands adjacent to the White Pine Trail, where participants will walk just over six miles total. Last year, 250 people took part, and the Food Bank hopes to double that number this year. “What better way to spend a fall morning?” said Linda Vanderbaan, fund development manager and the event’s primary organizer. “The White Pine Trail is gorgeous, just gorgeous. And this time of year, with the leaves starting to turn, it’s going to be spectacular.” Participants are encouraged to raise $100, enough to send 400 meals to people in need. Every participant will receive a Food Bank water bottle, a wristband, and refreshments provided by Country Fresh and Kellogg’s. Lunch will be provided by The Corner Bar. Two musical acts, Suburban 5 & 10 and Jack Tabler, will perform throughout the morning, and a trolley will be available at the halfway point for those who prefer to walk five kilometers. Leashed pets are welcome. The Million Meal March campaign is intended to help bring greater awareness of hunger issues to the West Michigan community, said Food Bank CEO Ken Estelle. “We wanted to communicate the fact that, despite the overall economic recovery, thousands are going hungry right in our neighborhoods.” In the 40 counties Feeding America West Michigan serves, one in five children is food insecure. More than 316,000 people are at risk of hunger in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Estelle hopes the Million Meal March will be an entry point for people to get involved in the local effort to fight hunger. “This is an easy way for people to join the cause. Everyone in our community […]

Volunteers needed to clean litter from Rogue River

August 16, 2013 // 0 Comments

We need local citizens to band together to tackle litter in the Rogue River. The Kent Conservation District and Trout Unlimited, through the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project, are working together to conduct a stream cleanup on the Rogue River on Saturday, September 7. Garbage along stream banks is not only unsightly, but it also can be harmful to wildlife. Many plants and animals depend on access to the water for survival. Waste can prevent animals from reaching what they need. Sometimes animals can confuse garbage for food or a suitable home. Waste enters a stream in a number of ways. Storm drains collect storm water from our neighborhoods, parking lots and other public areas, and this water is not treated before it reaches our local waterways. This means that garbage that ends up in a storm drain is washed directly to our streams and rivers. Litter from recreational use and sometimes intentional dumping also pollutes our water resources. You can help by volunteering a few hours of your time to collect garbage above and below the Rockford dam on canoe, kayak, or on foot. Money and gifts from the Department of Environmental Quality and local businesses will be used for canoe/kayak rentals, volunteer giveaways, and a free lunch. The Kent Conservation District will also be screening drinking water well samples for free. The cleanup will be held on Saturday, September 7 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Please meet at Richardson Sowerby Park in Rockford. This event will be held rain or shine so please dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Feel free to bring your family to help with this effort! For more information visit you are interested in attending please contact Nichol De Mol at 231-557-6362 or  

RAHS announces 2013 Rockford Area Museum auction date

August 16, 2013 // 0 Comments

As the NEW Rockford Area Museum (RAM) works on completing exhibits in the first of two main exhibit rooms in the former Courthouse next to City Hall, The Rockford Area Historical Society, (RAHS) is proud to announce that the second annual “Museum Weekend” and fund raising auction will take place on Saturday, September 28. This will be an exciting weekend in Downtown Rockford as it also marks the first weekend of this year’s Harvest Festival, sponsored by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. The highly popular Scarecrow “Make and Take” fundraiser for the museum and Rockford Community Services will also begin that weekend. Current plans call for that event to be held at the old museum building on three weekends beginning on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29, and concluding on Sunday, October 13. Last year, the museum’s auction was held in the former courthouse, but with the new museum taking shape there, the City has graciously offered to make City Hall available as the host location for this year’s auction activities. A silent auction, jammed with great items will be conducted inside City Hall. The always exciting live auction, conducted by Jack Robillard, an entertaining and highly experienced local auctioneer, will take place under a big tent in the parking lot. The new RAM will feature new exhibits, many of which are designed to appeal to young visitors as well as their parents and grandparents. Services are also being expanded to include longer, year around operating hours, children’s programs including puppet shows, and valuable assistance with genealogy and other research projects under the direction of Pat Frye, the museum’s Research Director. The commitment to the community is a huge one. Fulfilling that commitment depends on the continuing support of Rockford area businesses and residents. The auction is the museum’s most important fund raising project of the year. For this event to be successful, your help is needed. The auction can use new items in almost any product category plus other items of value such as merchant’s services, collectibles, vintage items, tools, gift cards and certificates, sports memorabilia, celebrity autograph items, cash to purchase auction items and defer auction expenses, facility rentals (banquet halls, auditoriums, etc.), vacation rentals (timeshares, condos, cottages, airfare, motor home rentals, […]

Rockford students take part in event that raises money for orphans

August 8, 2013 // 0 Comments

By Cindy M. Cranmer A Rockford woman, who previously put together an organization that helped athletes come to the aid of abandoned and orphaned children worldwide, conducted the first athletic event by that organization. The group had previously allowed athletes to raise money as part of other events. Rebecca Cruttenden, Team Orphans founder, expanded the organization nationwide in February 2012. Team Orphans has partnered with organized events as an official charity partner in the past. Individual athletes also can pick an athletic event, such as biking, walking, running or a triathlon, then set a fundraising goal and have 100 percent go towards child adoption grants. Team Orphans recently put together its own 5K event with 100 percent of the monies raised benefiting adoption and orphans through Brittany’s Hope. More than $9,000 was raised at the Cookie 5K Run and Walk at Robinette’s Apple Haus recently. More than 350 runners and walkers hit the trails through the apple orchards and surrounding fields. Statistics about adoption from Brittany’s Hope were placed throughout the course to remind participants why they were doing the event as they ran up large hills or through narrow, tree-lined paths. Brittany’s Hope helps unite special needs children with families throughout the United States who want to adopt but are burdened by the cost. International adoption runs about $30,000; domestic adoptions cost $10,000 to $15,000. Special needs children includes kids older than the age of two, sibling groups who want to remain together, or kids who have medical or other special needs. Ian Cook, an 11-year-old North Rockford Middle School student, placed at the top of the youth category completing the 3.2 miles in just over 24 minutes. His father, Zach, said they participate as a family. “We run 5Ks where the money goes to good causes,” Cook said. Erin Collings brought a group of Roguewood Elementary students out to the event. Collings, who was adopted from South Korea at age seven, said “I wanted to pick an athletic event that showed the girls that their dedication and hard work will make a difference forever. “We wanted it to be about more than a race,” she said. “We chose this as an alternative to Girls on the Run as every dollar raised goes to […]

Rockford area “Star Party” will provide an opportunity to view the Perseid meteor shower beyond the city lights

August 8, 2013 // 0 Comments

The Land Conservancy of West Michigan and Boy Scout Troop 228 of Rockford are cohosting a “Star Party” for the annual Perseid meteor shower.  The family-friendly event is open to the public and will be held on August 10, 2013 at the Land Conservancy’s Saul Lake Bog Preserve (10469 Six Mile Rd., Rockford, MI).  Activities will begin at 8:00 p.m. The Perseid meteor shower is considered to be among the best meteor showers of the year with the potential to see over 50 meteors per hour (best viewing will occur after midnight).  Several members of the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association (GRAAA) will be attending the event with telescopes for the public to use for a closer look at the night sky.  They will also be available to answer questions about astronomy. “We are delighted to partner with Boy Scout Troop 228 to host this Star Party at Saul Lake Bog Preserve.  It gives West Michigan residents an opportunity to get away from the city lights in order to enjoy the meteor shower in a natural setting.  And with members of GRAAA in attendance as well, it should be both a fun and educational night.” While the evening’s feature show will be stargazing and the meteor shower, some additional activities are planned.  During Boy Scout led night hikes through the preserve, participants will get the opportunity to use their other senses to navigate as well as learn nighttime orienteering skills. Local naturalist Ranger Steve Mueller will see if he can lure some moths in for a closer look at this fascinating group of insects. Finally, guests will be able to relax around a campfire and enjoy songs and stories. As co-hosts of this Star Party, members of Boy Scout Troop 228 will earn credit toward an astronomy merit badge. “One of the purposes of the Boy Scouts of America is to train boys and young adults to be participating citizens,” said Eric Lehman, a committee member with Troop 228.  “Helping the Land Conservancy of West Michigan and the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomy Association with this Star Party is a way for some of the boy scouts from Troop 228 to give something back to their community while they are learning more about their natural world.” […]

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