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Community updates: Thursday, Dec. 3

Kent County launches #KCTakeoutChallenge to support local restaurants; Experience Grand Rapids shares list of restaurants with winterized outdoor seating; and Grand Rapids Community Foundation accepting scholarship applications for 2021-22 academic year.
Greenhouse-like enclosures outside Lyon Street Café, built to keep outdoor diners warm.

Greenhouse-like enclosures outside Lyon Street Café, built to keep outdoor diners warm. /Experience Grand Rapids

Kent County launches #KCTakeoutChallenge to support local restaurants

Kent County launched a social media campaign on Thursday to support local restuarants dealing with pandemic-related strains.

Called the #KCTakeoutChallenge, the campaign encourages residents to buy takeout or gift cards from their favorite Kent County restaurants, share the news online, and tag three friends – with a challenge to do the same.

Its launch, announced through the county’s official Facebook page, comes amid the continued shutdown of indoor dining for restaurants across the state. The shutdown’s part of the MDHHSNov. 15 emergency order in response to the pandemic, currently running through Dec. 8.

In the county’s announcement, it shared a video of Kent County Commissioner Mandy Bolter as the campaign’s first participant. Bolter’s seen in the video picking up carryout for her family at Noto’s, an Italian restaurant in Cascade.

You can go to any local restaurant in Kent County,” Bolter said of joining the challenge. “Buy gift certificates, buy dinner. Let’s save our restaurants and support local business.”

To aid the challenge, Kent County administrators compiled a list of local restaurants that’s available on the Take Out Challenge page on the county’s website. Restaurants are categorized by cities and other communities within the county.

Also available on the Take Out Challenge page are graphics participants can use for social media posts related to the campaign. Organizers encourage participants to use the #KCTakeoutChallenge hashtag when sharing.


Experience Grand Rapids shares list of restaurants with winterized outdoor seating

With indoor dining restrictions continuing for local restaurants and bars, many of these businesses have turned to “winterizing” their outdoor dining spaces. Such spaces are still permitted under the MDHHS’ order.

Experience Grand Rapids has shared an online list of Grand Rapids businesses that’ve prepared their outdoor dining spaces for the winter weather, for those curious what’s out there.

In the list, Experience Grand Rapids details restaurants and bars that are offering outdoor accommodations such as heaters, fire pits, and greenhouse-like enclosures. There are currently 38 businesses listed, with the organization expecting to add more.

We will be continuously updating this story as we find out more information,” Experience Grand Rapids said of the list, in a Facebook post last week.

Among restaurants and bars with outdoor heaters are Brewery Vivant, Logan’s Alley, and Outside Coffee Co. Those with private enclosures include Lyon Street Café, Donkey Taqueria, and more.

Outdoor spaces may require advance reservations, with Experience Grand Rapids encouraging customers to check a restaurant or bar’s website before going.


Grand Rapids Community Foundation accepting scholarship applications for 2021-22 academic year

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation (GRCF) has begun accepting applications for over 70 need-based scholarship funds for the 2021-22 academic year, it announced Wednesday.

The scholarship funds are available for Kent County students pursuing college or trade school, with $1.16 million to be awarded. Funding comes through the GRCF and its donor partners.

Financial need for the scholarships is being determined through students completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form before applying.

Students applying for the GRCF’s funds through its General Application are automatically considered for the more than 70 scholarship funds encompassing over 500 scholarships. Most awards range from $1,000-$5,000.

Many people who could most benefit from education after high school are not able to afford it,” the GRCF states on its website. “Our need-based scholarships are here to give students a boost on their path to higher education.”

Since 1945, the foundation has been awarding more than $1 million every year to hundreds of students pursuing a higher education. According to its website, 63 percent of scholarships have been awarded to first-generation college students and 50 percent have been awarded to students of color.

The GRCF’s scholarship applications for the 2021-22 academic year are available from Dec. 1 through March 1, 2021. Full details about the applications process are available on the Apply for Scholarships page of the foundation’s website.


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