Becoming a Client and Available Services

PLEASE NOTE: If you are in need of immediate food or housing assistance, please call 2-1-1 (800-887-1107), as North Kent Connect is not an emergency service center.

We all need a little extra help at some point in our lives. If you are a resident of northern Kent County, North Kent Connect may be a resource for you to receive food, housing assistance, job services, and much more. For more information about becoming a Client, scroll below or please call us at (616) 866-3478 to speak with a Case Manager.

Many of our services are listed below, and many are free and open to the public, as well as to North Kent Connect Clients.

Food Programs

The following services are available to Clients of North Kent Connect and/or the general public:

The Pantry (Client-Only Food Pantry)

Our FREE Pantry is open to NKC Clients on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., and on Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. If you are an NKC Client, you can order your next Pantry allotment here

Clients can visit the Pantry once a month. You can also request referrals to our Partner Pantries. [MORE]

Partner Pantries

Clients can visit other pantries in the area for additional food each month. [MORE]

Farm Stand (Open to the public)

Fresh, local items are available to the public, with discounted pricing to anyone who needs it. [MORE]

Special Food Programs

We also have information related to Federal Commodities, Senior Pantry, and Senior Commodities, plus food assistance for pets. [MORE]

Additional Programs

The following additional services are also available to Clients and/or the general public:

Step 2

A Client program for setting and reaching your goals. [MORE]

V.I.P. Program, plus Free Classes and Education

All classes are free and open to the public. Clients can earn credit for use in the Thrift Store and Farm Stand by taking classes. [MORE]

MI Bridges

Case Managers are able to assist clients with applying for DHHS benefits through MI Bridges. Appointments are available by phone during the COVID-19 pandemic. Clients are able to apply for utility, housing, food and cash assistance. Staff can also assist clients in filing their renewal documents. [MORE]

Birthday Blessings

There is a free program available to children 3 years old – 5th grade through the Fruit of the Spirit Women’s Ministry of Rockford Reformed Church. The parent/guardian can choose one of four birthday packages for the child’s birthday. Children must be on file with NKC, and a form must be completed by the parents/guardians and sent by an NKC Case Manager.

Free Tax Prep

There are two programs each tax season: VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), a program administered through the Heart of West Michigan United Way, and AARP. Volunteers assist low-income community members to file their tax returns at our location.

Interested in any of these programs? Speak to one of our Case Managers by calling 616-866-3478 for more information.

How to Qualify as a Client*

Please note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, you need only be a resident of northern Kent County to qualify to become a client. All information can be taken via phone, or please visit our drive-up pantry on Mondays & Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., and Thursdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

After COVID-19, in order to become a Client of North Kent Connect:

  • You must live in our service area which encompasses northern Kent County, Michigan (defined by the area north of 6 Mile Road and south of 22 Mile Road, east of Kenowa Avenue and west of Montcalm Avenue). These boundaries fall within the cities of Sparta, Kent City, Rockford, Belmont, Cedar Springs, and Sand Lake; please note that if you do not live within the above defined service area between these roads, you are not eligible to become a client of North Kent Connect at this time.
  • Your combined household income must be at or below 200 percent of the current Federal Poverty Level. (You must be able to provide verifiable documentation, such as bank statements, tax records, and pay stubs.) Additional information regarding income qualification can be found on the USDA website.
  • You must be in a temporary crisis situation or be victim of a natural disaster or fire.
  • You must present a state-issued photo identification card for every adult in the household. For all children, bring most current documentation such as WIC papers, a copy of school records, DHHS decision letter, or birth certificate.
  • Lastly, you must bring a bill (e.g. utility, credit card) that is current within the past 30 days that matches the address listed on your photo ID.

If you have questions or would like more information, please call us at (616) 866-3478 to speak to one of our Case Managers.