Women Who Care Kent County, a local philanthropy group, donated $11,900 to North Kent Community Services on June 25. Kathy Florentine and Sharon Stiansen, founders of the group, toured NKCS and presented the generous gift. NKCS was selected as this quarter’s recipient of funding from Women Who Care Kent County, a group of 100+ women who collectively pool their money to make one large donation to a nonprofit group in our community. Three charities were given the opportunity to make a pitch at the June 4 event at Blythefield Country Club; afterword each woman in attendance votes and writes a $100 check to the charity that garnered the most votes. “This gift is significant for North Kent Community Services,” said Executive Director Claire Guisfredi. “The donated money will be a huge help as we gear up for our next round of educational programming this fall. We are trying to move people out of poverty and Women Who Care Kent County is helping us do that.” North Kent Community Services is the largest food pantry in northern Kent County, serving families and individuals from 5 Mile to 22 Mile Roads and east and west to the county lines. They provide food, clothing, Senior Meals on Wheels, tax preparation and more to those in need. The Thrive Empowerment Program, launched in September, equips women in the area to empower themselves by advancing their education, starting a business or finding livable wage employment. Since its founding in 2013, Women Who Care Kent County has raised more than $95,000 for local nonprofit organizations. “It’s amazing to see the impact 100 women can make in just one hour,” said Florentine. “All women in Kent County are invited to join and be a part of this incredible group.” The next gathering is Thursday, September 3 at Blythefield Country Club. For more information, visit their Facebook page by searching Women Who Care Kent County.
North Kent Community Services
by JOHN HOGAN Sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 80s provided ideal conditions for nearly 150 participants in the second annual Honey Creek Duathlon held Monday in downtown Cannonsburg. Racers covered more than 18 miles on bike and on foot, and then returned to Honey Creek Inn for an afternoon of food, drink and family fun. The Labor Day event raised more than $2,000 for North Kent Community Services and The Kids’ Food Basket, an organization seeking to eradicate childhood hunger in the greater Grand Rapids area. Attendance was up more than 20 percent from last year’s inaugural event, said race organizer Don Kurylowicz, who finished in 2 hours, 7 minutes. “I am ecstatic with the turnout, both for the race and the post-race activities,” Kurylowicz said. “What a great way to celebrate Labor Day and help those who are less fortunate.” Monday’s duathlon winded its way through Cannon, Vergennes, Grattan and Ada townships. It started at 9:30 a.m. with a 2.5k run, followed by a 22k bike ride and ending with a 5k run. Participants ranged in age from 14 to 70. Among the racers was world class distance runner Greg Meyer, the last American to win the Boston Marathon. “What a great way to draw people together,” said Meyer, 56, who finished in 1 hour, 24 minutes. “It’s like an old community event similar to those we grew up with.” Meyer received a moose pendant for the best finish in the 55 to 60 age group. “This is going right next to Boston,” he said. The overall duathlon winner was 33-year-old Jimi Minnema, who completed the course in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 42 seconds. Participants could complete the duathlon solo or participate in relay teams of up to three people. Mike Jonkman, who participated in last year’s event, opted for the biking portion, covering about 13.5 miles, while his son, Kenzie, 17, did the two running segments. Having Kenzie, a Rockford High School senior, run the combined 4.6 miles was a godsend, Jonkman said. They completed the three segments in 1 hour, 51 minutes. “I can’t run like I used to,” Jonkman said. “And the biking portion killed me with all the hills. I wanted to get off the bike a […]
A “labor lf love’’ takes place in the Village of Cannonsburg September 3 with the second annual Honey Creek Duathlon charity event. If you can ride a bike, walk or run, you can participate in the Labor Day event, which benefits North Kent Community Services and The Kids’ Food Basket. A duathlon is an athletic event that consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and concluding with another running portion similar in format to triathlons. Nearly 100 people participated in last year’s event. Participants cover slightly more than 18 miles on foot and on bike through one of Kent County’s most beautiful areas, including Townsend Park. The Labor Day event offers more than a good workout. Post race festivities include live music, entertainment for kids and adults, along with award-winning food and drink. “Even if you can’t ride a bike or run, come down to cheer participants and enjoy myriad family-friendly events,” urged event organizer Don Kurylowicz. Feedback from 2011 participants helped organizers enhance and improve this year’s event. Some of the add-ons include more live music, an expanded food and beer tent, duck races, an ice cream eating contest and competition at an old-fashioned horseshoe pit. “It’s not so much about winning the race, but completing the race,’’ laughed Michael Jonkman of Rockford, who participated in the 2011 event. “The duathlon was great, but I really liked the food and family-friendly events, especially pitching horseshoes. Who needs to walk the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day; Cannonsburg has it all.” For those not tuckered out by the race, there will be a classic two-person crosscut saw competition. Cannonsburg Museum will also be open for visitors. “We’ve added more activities for the kids and expanded the entertainment to include folk and blues music along with country and rock,” Kurylowicz said. The American Red Cross will be on hand for blood donations. “This is a community event and the focus is to give back to our community,” Kurylowicz said. “Whether you’re donating blood or just showing up for a good time, all money raised will be put back into the community.” Primary beneficiaries are North Kent Community Services and The Kids’ Food Basket, an organization seeking to eradicate childhood hunger in greater Grand Rapids. […]
North Kent Community Services (NKCS) is preparing for the new school year, and hope to distribute 500 new backpacks with school supplies to children in grades K-12, whose families cannot afford to purchase them. They are asking you to help by donating new backpacks and school supplies by August 15. Backpacks are the greatest need; last year NKCS purchased over 300 with donated funds and money from their budget. A donation of $5 will enable NKCS to purchase a nice backpack wholesale. Imagine how happy and successful you can make a child when they start the school year with a brand-new backpack and school supplies like everyone else. Please consider donating the following new items: backpacks, rulers, pens (black, blue, red), pencil boxes, two-pocket report folders, pencils (wood, mechanical), crayons (24-pack), washable markers, glue sticks, college-ruled and wide-ruled notebooks, scissors (blunt edge), colored pencils, three-ring binders, erasers, and filler paper. NKCS is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 10075 Northland Drive, Rockford. They can be reached at (616) 866-3478.
The staff and director of North Kent Community Services (NKCS) are preparing for the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours event. This fun networking event is scheduled for Monday, July 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and is meant to showcase the host business and educate others on the various services the organization provides. After Hours will be the perfect setting for the movers and shakers in the business community to network and enjoy delicious food and beverages. The event is open to the public and is very relaxed with no set schedule, so visitors are encouraged to come any time during the two-hour event. The role NKCS fulfills in the area is a big one. For over 37 years, NKCS has provided care for families in northern Kent County when times turn tough and has built a strong heritage within the community. NKCS has become a refuge in our community and has a history of providing life- transforming programs for families. “Since our inception we have provided essential services to those who find themselves in need of help due to a change in circumstances,” said Sandy Waite, executive director of NKCS. “Our organization provides our clients with emergency food, clothing, household and personal items. We also assist in helping our clients find shelter, pay utilities, find medical help and supply transportation to appointments for area families who cannot afford these necessities.” Waite is excited to have the opportunity to open the organization’s doors on July 16 and show visitors how they help their clients. The outreach is even going to be greater with this event. Each visitor is asked to please bring a back-to-school item for the center’s backpack program. It is a great way to help your neighbors. After Hours is free, however, reservations are required. Please call the Chamber office at (616) 866-2000 to register.