This year’s weather brings new meaning to the acronym “SOS,” the international distress signal used by ships. However, Rockford is planning on using it in two ways. In the past the initials have been used to identify the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s (RCC) Start of Summer Celebration. The double meaning is handy this year, however, as the community calls for rescue from the awful weather. The SOS committee is hoping that the launch of this favorite Rockford event will also be the start of the beautiful summer weather—and be saved from the cold, windy and wet days of spring. This year’s celebration is scheduled for June 10, 11 and 12, and will feature carnival rides, food, crafts, music, entertainment and family fun. The fireworks—sponsored by Byrne Electrical Specialists, Meijer, Wynalda Packaging Inc., and D&W Fresh Markets—will light up the Rockford skyline at dusk on Saturday. Polly Von Eschen, who has overseen the event for 24 years, always makes sure that the celebration runs seamlessly. The committee started preparing for the huge event months in advance and is ready to highlight the 43rd annual installment of the popular celebration. “It is a great way to celebrate the end of the school year and the beginning of summer,” said Von Eschen. “We like thanking the community for all their support of downtown businesses throughout the year. It is always a lot of fun. We love seeing people come into town and enjoy all of the wonderful things going on.” Von Eschen contracted the Scottville Clown Band for another year. The talented group of musicians will play in the parade and follow that with a stint under the Lions Club’s Beverage Tent. The band wowed the Rockford audience with their sound and their antics last year. “We knew we had to bring them back for another year,” said Von Eschen. “They are not only highly entertaining; they are also phenomenal musicians. If you didn’t see them last year, you really should make sure to come down and watch them this year. It really is a treat for the whole family.” Playworld Amusements will provide the carnival rides and games this year. The rides and midway will be set up in the South Squires Street parking lot. Favorites such […]
by BETH ALTENA Santa, police and plenty of smiles marked the seventh annual Shop with a Hero event at the Rockford Meijer Sunday, Dec. 12. All on volunteer time, Rockford police, usually with the help of a spouse or family member, enjoyed helping children choose items from a list of necessities and at least one treasured toy of their choice. Each Christmas season the officers, assisted by a spouse, friend or family member, help children from Rockford schools choose items such as boots, hats, snowpants, pajamas and more, working off a list of needed items provided by parents or guardians. The Rockford Lions Club, one of the service organizations that donate to Shop with a Hero, also turns out on the day of the event to assist. According to Lynda Nance, who joined the Rockford Lions in October, the event is just one of many causes the group supports. “My dad was a Lion for over 30 years. When Polly VonEschen invited me to join, I decided it was time,” she said. “All we do is raise money and do good things. It’s a great group and so much fun.” This year’s Shop with a Hero was the first for Officer Mike Thomas. “It’s fun to shop with other people’s money,” he said. “It’s fun getting things that people need.” Fifth-grader Zachary Smith said he felt lucky because his Shop with a Hero was Dave Jehnzen, who is Rockford’s D.A.R.E. officer. Smith said he believes the lessons he learned in D.A.R.E. will stay with him all his life. One of the techniques the program taught him is to “give the cold shoulder” when pressured in a bad situation. “You just turn and walk away. You don’t have to say a thing.” Meijer Store Director Phil Morrow said many Meijer stores hold similar events with police, ambulance and fire department personnel. The company annually donates tens of thousands of dollars for the program. “It’s the right thing to do,” Morrow said. “This is touching the community, giving back and helping these families out. These people probably shop here every day.” Morrow also pointed out that the kids invariably pick out items for someone else, a sibling or friend. “They aren’t just buying things for themselves, they […]
The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids is very pleased to announce that Meijer has made a very generous donation to the residents of northern Kent County by contributing $100,000 to the Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA located in Belmont. The six figure amount is allocated to the 2007 expansion of 14,000 square feet which was needed just two years after the Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA opened in 2005. “Meijer understands the value that a strong YMCA brings to the community it serves by providing a solid foundation based on positive activities and programs. Meijer also appreciates the fact that a strong, healthy and vibrant community benefits all area residents and the YMCA’s mission is a critical part of a positive community equation,” said Stacie Behler, vice president, corporate communications and public affairs at Meijer. Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA serves 7,700 members and provides the northern Kent County residents with more than 200 wide-ranging programs. Originally built in 2005, it became quickly apparent that an additional 14,000 square foot expansion was needed to fill the high demand for a health, wellness and fitness facility that would meet the need of the growing northern Kent County corridor. “We are thrilled to receive such a generous gift from a West Michigan original retailer like Meijer. The money will help in many ways now the expansion is complete. This gift will enable thousands of kids and families to reach their potential in spirit, mind and body in our newly expanded Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA,” said Bev Thiel, Executive Director of the facility.
Grocer’s food donation program raised nearly $300,000 for food pantries last December With local food banks facing shortfalls this spring, supercenter chain Meijer is re-launching its Simply Give food donation program to help restock the shelves of local food pantries, including the North Kent Service food pantry. The announcement was made by Hank Meijer’s co-chairman and CEO of the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer. “The need to restock and replenish our local food banks and food pantries is greater than ever, so we are encouraging our customers to join us again in reaching out to lend a helping hand to those in need,” said Meijer. “We’re committed to making a difference in all the communities where we do business, and this is just another example of the importance we place on being an active member of the community. The program, which will runs through May 30, encourages Meijer’s shoppers to purchase a $10 Meijer food pantry donation card at special displays throughout the store, as well as inside Meijer gas stations and convenience stops. The donation card will then be converted into Meijer Gift Cards given to local food pantries selected by the store. (The $10 amount reflects a typical bag of groceries at Meijer.) Meijer will once again seed the program with overall donation of $100,000 in grocery gift cards that will be divided equally among all the participating food pantries. As part of the program, each Meijer store selected one local food pantry to receive its donations. The program was initially introduced this past November in all markets served by Meijer. The program, which ran through the holidays, raised nearly $300,000 for local food pantries, as Meijer customers donation of $187,000 and Meijer contributed $100,000 in grocery gift cards to 185 local food pantries. “The North Kent Service Center has been selected as the recipient store for the Rockford Meijer and the newest Meijer’s store opening in Cedar Springs on May 6, 2009. “The North Kent Service Center was the recipient of the ‘Simply Give’ program during the 2008 holiday seasons and received $3,000 from the community Meijer in Rockford. These funds were our saving grace during the Christmas season and assisted us purchasing a large portion of the food needed for the 1,000+ […]