Celebrating the activity of God in our midst, Access strengthens and develops wholistic solutions to poverty by cultivating equitable systems through education and collaboration.
Access of West Michigan began 1981 in response to federal government cutbacks for social services programs. We were asked by local stakeholders to create a central coordination of services in order to prevent duplication and maximize resources.
In 1990 Access began coordinating the Kent County Pantry Network so that there would be quicker response time for people in need of food. Access convened the 100 Kent County pantries and created a system where people could access food assistance in their nearest neighborhood, maximizing resources and minimizing waste.
Since then, Access has been on the forefront of hunger relief and community development with food work by presenting best practices and evidence-based programs that have addressed poverty. Access has chaired our local Food and Nutrition Coalition, and has been a part boards and committees for United Way. Access has been a part of the Community Health Improvement Plan and has helped form the Kent County Food Policy Council. Access has been a leader in community conversations and development on food access, health and nutrition, and poverty education.
We are currently listed as the number one recognized and used congregation-service organization in our county. We provide basic needs to congregations, other organizations, and to our community partners across sectors. Over the past 35 years our impact has recognizably grown, and continues to grow across statewide and national networks.