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.
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 NKC; the budget is now more than $3 million (including in-kind donations).
History of Executive Directors
Area churches, including the Rockford, Cedar Springs and Sparta Ministerial groups, continue to be an integral part of the success of NKC, contributing food, funding and volunteers.