Friend, Inc. was founded in September 1972. Located on Main Street, Kutztown, the focus was on drug alcohol and family counseling. Friend was partially funded by Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MH/MR) and Council on Chemical Abuse.
In 1980, more financial assistance was allocated to the Reading Area, and Friend closed. From 1980 to 1987, NEED was started by the Kutztown Ministerial Association. 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.
In January of 1988, Friend, Inc. opened up the Northeastern Berks Food Pantry at a building located next to the KU campus. In May of 1991, the pantry and the offices both moved to the current location of 658 Noble Street. Over the years Friend has expanded the pantry and the services offered to fit the needs of the growing community.