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A History of Serving Families and Individuals In Need

The Rockford Community Service Center was founded in 1973 by a group of concerned individuals working through the Rockford Area Ministerial Association. Rev. Richard Lindvall, pastor of Northland Congregational Church and president of R.A.M.A., and Peg Ferrand, first board president and volunteer, labored tirelessly to realize their vision of helping those in need in northern Kent County. The original focus was to serve three groups of people: migrant workers, the underemployed and unemployed, and those with mental health issues. The original location of the center was the basement of the Sonke State Farm Insurance office at the corner of Courtland and Monroe Streets. Other locations included the Melting Pot building, Fenn Valley Wine Shop and Our Lady of Consolation.

Tom Pearce and the board of directors raised the necessary funds to buy a lot on Northland Drive and 12 Mile Road, its current location. The new 16,000 square foot facility opened in 2003. About 8,000 square feet includes the food pantry, clothing area and office space; the other half is a warehouse used to store food and sort donations. In recent years the board added “community” back into the name of the organization because it is truly the community that both supports the ministry and benefits from it.

The budget in 1973 was $1,223 with 36 clients. By 1985, more than 2,000 clients visited the center and the budget increased to $20,675. In 2016, more than 1,500 households or 5,000 individuals (unduplicated) used NKCS; the budget is now more than $3 million (including in-kind donations).

North Kent Community Services has had just four Executive Directors in its 43-year history:

Marilyn Lind
1973-1990

Tom Pearce
1990-2004

Sandy Waite 
2004-2012

Claire Guisfredi 
2013-

Area churches, including the Rockford, Cedar Springs and Sparta Ministerial groups, continue to be an integral part of the success of NKCS, contributing food, funding and volunteers.

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North Kent Community Services

10075 Northland Drive NE
Rockford, MI 49341 Map
Phone: 616-866-3478

Business Hours:
Monday thru Thursday 8:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m.