Friend, Inc. Community Services is a multi-service 501(c)(3) agency that is committed to strengthening the lives of those living in Northeastern Berks County.
Friend, Inc. was founded in September 1972. Located on Main Street in Kutztown, the agency’s focus was on drug and alcohol family counseling and was partially funded by the office of Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MH/MR) and the Council on Chemical Abuse.
In 1980, as more funding was allocated to the Reading area Friend, Inc. closed its doors. However, the needs of the rural communities did not go away. In 1980 NEED was started by the Kutztown Ministerial Association. In 1987 NEED combined with the Salvation Army Service Unit and together with a United Way Venture Grant Friend, Inc. was reactivated and an office opened at the corner of Trexler and Noble Streets. Initially it was an information and referral agency principally driven by area churches as a coordinated effort to support their congregations in line with their own missions.
In January of 1988, Friend, Inc. opened up the Northeastern Berks Food Pantry. In May of 1991 the pantry and offices moved to the current location of 658 Noble Street. The student pantry at Kutztown University opened in September of 2015 and the Alburtis Mobile Market in September 2021.
Currently Friend, Inc. provides a self-select food and pet pantry, Kutztown University Student Pantry, Alburtis Mobile Market, and emergency food delivery. In addition to addressing food insecurity Friend, Inc. provides direct and referral assistance in utility and housing support along with, medical assistance, budget counseling, career education, and facilitates relevant partnerships with other service providers. Friend, Inc. continues to explore areas of need and is committed to the resources necessary to help all reach self-sufficiency.