Community rallies to help Northwest Community Center with critical upgrade

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For more than 70 years, the Northwest Community Center has been helping Rockford residents, but on Tuesday, residents turned the tables on the center, helping the non-profit with a critical upgrade.

When the center saw the $15,000-$20,000 price tag of upgrading a part of their kitchen stove, they knew they would need some help.

Tim Bunk, who used to frequent the center as a child, stepped in to help.

“It feels really good to give back to the community that gave to me as a kid,” said Bunk, who is now the Branch Manager for Getz Fire Equipment.

Bunk remembered the time he spent at the Northwest Communtiy Center when he was younger.

“I grew up in this neighborhood and played here, in the ’60’s and 70’s,” he said. “That was a long time ago. Stewart, from the building, called me and said that they needed some help.”

Bunk helped install a fire suppression system in the stove hood, just what the center needed to get the kitchen back up and running.

Karl Franzen, Director of Communication and Economic Development for the City of Rockford, said, “It was just that ventilation, so had the stove been used, it was a potential for a fire hazard.”

“We’re going to install a suppression system in the kitchen hood. If they have any issues, or if it gets above a certain temperature, the system will go off automatically and extinguish the fire,” Bunk said.

Tabatha Endres-Cruz, Executive Director of Northwest Community Center, said, “Community centers are vital. They play a vital role, particularly on this side of Rockford, the Northwest side of Rockford. We are a safe hub for our youth to come. We provide before-school programming, we provide after-school programming. So, it’s a safe place for youth to come.”

Bunk says he knows how much the center means to the children of Northwest Rockford.

“It’s a cornerstone on the WEst side of the community. Everybody would come to spend time and learn some of the basic team skill and all that, playing baseball and flag football,” he said.

With Bunk’s help, the Center expects the kitchen should be back up and running by Friday.

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