My name is Jane Newton and I am a graduate student of communications at GVSU. I have had the privilege of working with Kids’ Food Basket in preparation for Go Orange Day (Friday, March 27!) as part of my graduate coursework this winter.
My first interaction with Kids’ Food Basket was when I was unemployed for five months after graduating with my Bachelor’s degree in December 2010. Finding effective, meaningful ways to fill my time while applying for an endless number of jobs was more difficult than I had anticipated. Most volunteer opportunities required a consistent time commitment and an orientation that was only offered certain times of the year. Without knowing when or where I’d get a job, I was unable to volunteer with many organizations.
At the time I lived close to Kids’ Food Basket. I called one morning to ask if there was anything I could do for them that day.“Yes! We always have things for volunteers to do, come on in!" was the enthusiastic response I received. That afternoon, and several subsequent afternoons, I was able to volunteer and think about something other than being unemployed.
Eventually, I decided to pursue my Master's degree. When it came time for me to look for a final project to complete, Kids’ Food Basket was at the top of my list, not only because of the critical role it plays for children in our community, but also because they use volunteers in such diverse ways.
Working on Go Orange Day with the Kids’ Food Basket team has taught me a few things:
- The importance of good, nutritious food for everyone, especially children. So many children in our community are hungry and need Sack Suppers. 1 in every 4 kids might not know from where, or if, their next meal will come. We often think of hunger as a “third world problem," but in reality, it’s right in our neighborhoods.
- The importance of volunteering and community engagement. Volunteers and the communities in which they operate are the lifeline of nonprofits. Kids' Food Basket's uses more than 200 volunteers a day between their two locations in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, and they'll need even more when they open Holland this spring. Volunteers play such a critical role in ensuring kids in our community get the nutrition they need!
- That donations matter. Kids’ Food Basket uses every single dollar donated as efficiently as possible. This is so important, because every $1 = 1 Sack Supper!
- Not to sweat the small stuff. It’s really easy to forget what’s important when coworkers aren’t on top of their game or a home improvement project doesn’t go as planned or an unexpected car repair comes up. Working on initiatives like Go Orange Day to raise awareness for the 1 in 4 kids in our community who is affected by hunger put a lot of things in perspective for me.
Celebrate Go Orange Day with Kids' Food Basket and I this year, and help to raise awareness for the 1 in 4 Michigan kids who is affected by hunger! Click here to see a list of ways you can get involved, and stay tuned this week using #KFBGoOrange as Kids' Food Basket begins to spread the word in a variety of fun and unique ways!