Our founder, Mary K. Hoodhood
In 2001, Mary Ann Prisichenko, principal of Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Sibley School, had discovered some of her students digging through the trash looking for food to take home for dinner. She began seeking an organization that could help ensure her students received adequate nutrition after school. When Mary K. Hoodhood, a long-time volunteer with the local Meals on Wheels program, heard this story and others from school officials, she had to take action.
And so began Kids’ Food Basket’s attack on childhood hunger, led by the unstoppable Mary K. Seed funding supported a Sack Supper program for 125 children every weekday at three schools. From the beginning, Kids’ Food Basket has been powered by the love and support of our community, which has helped the organization grow to serve many more kids in its short history.
Today, we serve over 6,000 children at 34 sites in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, along with a summer program that serves thousands of kids. Over 175 community members volunteer each day to pack and deliver these Sack Suppers.
Mary K. continues to play a critical role in our work. In 2010, her advocacy and service was recognized by President Obama, when he awarded her the Presidential Citizens Medal. This is the second highest honor a civilian can receive, and it recognizes Americans who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or fellow citizens. Learn more about this honor and watch a video of the ceremony.
Additionally, Mary K. is an active board member and plays a critical role on our Outreach team.
To learn more about Mary K., read the Grand Rapids Press profile on her life and work.