Food and resources at your fingertips

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Helpkent.org offers an interactive map of every local organization offering food, shelter, safety and health services to Kent County residents. Courtesy helpkent.org

The COVID-19 “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order resulted in many nonessential employees being terminated or put on leave, which spurred the creation of a new online resource.

Helpkent.org, which launched Monday, offers a list and interactive map of every local organization offering food, shelter, safety and health services to Kent County residents whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by COVID-19 measures.

The project is led by Heart of West Michigan United Way 211 in partnership with Ama International, Projects for Purpose, I Site Consulting Group, Mallowfields LLC, Kent County Essential Needs Task Force and other community organizations.

“People in West Michigan are wondering how they will pay their bills and put food on the table,” the partners behind helpkent.org said in a joint statement. “While many organizations have stepped up to provide assistance, many people still do not know where to turn locally for assistance to find food, shelter and safety.

“United in purpose, local organizations have partnered with Heart of West Michigan United Way 211 to answer the question, ‘Where do I get food in Kent County?’”

The website includes an interactive map and a simple, three-step process:

  • Go to Helpkent.org.
  • Click Kent County Food Access Sites.
  • Click your location on the map and view details of available food resources, including name of organization, site type (school, church, etc.), hours of operation, and more.

Service organizations that already are reporting resources to 211, Access of West Michigan or other coordinating agencies are asked to continue doing so, and helpkent.org will work to incorporate any updates as quickly as possible.

Others that wish to report updates, provide corrections and make suggestions should email updates@helpkent.org.

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