About Friend, Inc.: History
1972-1980: Located on Main Street, Kutztown - focus on drug, alcohol and family counseling. Partially funded by Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MH/MR) and Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA)
1980: Closed when money was more allocated to Reading area
1980-1987: NEED was started by the Kutztown Ministerial Association
1987: NEED combined with the Salvation Army Service Unit and a United Way Venture Grant was the funding for Friend, Inc. to be reactivated. A needs assessment showed that people wanted to know where to go for help. Office opened at the corner of Trexler and Noble Streets to be mostly an information and referral agency, but also a place that churches could send people asking them for money to prevent individuals from going to multiple churches.
Jan. 1988: Friend, Inc. opened up the Northeastern Berks Food Pantry at the Lehigh Valley Christian Church located next to the KU campus.
April 1989: First Benefit Auction
May 1991: Friend moved both their offices and pantry to 658 Noble Street
1991-1992: Club RAD was formed to give disadvantaged youth a chance for recreational activities and peer support sessions about drug and alcohol prevention.
August 1993: Parenting Support Groups started (Rita was hired)
July 1996: Full Time case manager was hired (Steve) And we expanded our offices at the Russell's building
May 1999: Tornado in Lyons!
April 2002: Changed to a Client Choice pantry
May 2003: Did a program called "Hands on Berks" to clean up the yards of some of our pantry clients
June/July 2004: Started running stands at the Kutztown Folk Festival as a Fundraiser
March 2005: First Bowlathon
February 2009: First Annual Friend Fest
August 2010: First Annual "Brake the Cycle of Poverty" Bike Ride