Working for our Community’s Kids
Every single day, Kids’ Food Basket hosts community members from all over West Michigan who believe that every child should have access to good, healthy, nourishing food. Kids’ Food Basket is a charitably funded organization, and our programming is funded by the generosity of this community. Meet a few of these generous donors, volunteers and advocates.
A Story of Community Engagement
In 2015, we shared with you our partnership with the Muskegon Correctional Facility. It all started with a group of artists that committed to providing a decorated bag to every single child we serve in Muskegon each Monday. Today, that commitment runs even deeper.
In addition to decorating these bags, inmates have coordinated food drives for our break bags, and on more than one occasion, made a financial gift to support the work of Kids’ Food Basket. Most recently, we received a gift of $750. That’s $750 of their own dollars they had earned through their correctional facility jobs, which pay them at a rate of $0.12-$0.33 per hour, to donate to their community’s kids.
One of the correctional facility artists said, “It’s a privilege to give back. It’s a privilege to give back when I’ve taken so much.”
Everyone has the power to change the world. When caring people lend their hearts and hands, its an enriching and impactful experience for all who work to fulfill our promise of nourishing our communities’ kids.
Another artist shared, “They created a job we love to do. It’s therapeutic. We get to have this special connection to the real world.”
A Story of Sack Supper Impact
Lucy MacIntosh, 4th Grade Teacher at William C. Abney, shares the importance of Sack Suppers at her school: “The students at Abney count on Sack Suppers each week. They look forward to a nutritious meal at the end of the school day.
One teacher shared with me, ‘Every Friday at recess, kids come up to me and repeatedly ask if it’s a Kids’ Food Basket day! Once the Sack Supper is delivered, students line up to pass out the bags in the classroom. I love watching them open their Sack Suppers to see what the day’s bag includes. It’s a great time for our class to build community and practice gratitude.’
As the end of the school year approaches, we see students exhibit some anxiety leading up to summer. Some act out in order to seek more attention, others regress and become quiet and withdrawn.
The need for healthy food in the summer is great. Students tend to be on less of a schedule in the summer, so healthy snacks and routine meals don’t happen often enough for growing bodies. We are a Title I school that serves free breakfast and lunch to the entire student body, so in the summer, these meals, which families count on, are missed. I’m grateful that Kids’ Food Basket provides Sack Suppers to our summer school to keep healthy food options available to students.”
This year, particularly the end of winter, has brought a fair share of new opportunities our way – opportunities that have led us to new ways of ensuring we are able to provide fresh, nourishing meals to children in our community. Thank you for helping us make those meals a daily reality for nearly 8,200 West Michigan children.
You helped us reach thousands of children we serve through a new emergency food distribution system when we were faced with an unprecedented series of consecutive snow days. Thanks to the unwavering trust and support of our community, we were able to serve nutritious food in a safe, accessible way through more than a dozen
emergency sites across West Michigan – an amazing accomplishment we hadn’t yet tackled! The approximately 10,000 meals we served in 3 days proved both the huge community need and the impact of Kids’ Food Basket.
Kids’ Food Basket has always been a community-driven solution for children experiencing food insecurity. As we’ve grown to serving nearly 8,200 children a nutritious Sack Supper each weekday, we have also grown and evolved our approach so that we not only meet a need that exists today, we break down barriers to improve access to healthy foods that will meet the needs of our future generations.
When school is out in the summer, we know there is still a massive need for consistent access to healthy food in our communities. There are over 80,000 children – yes, 80,000 children, in Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa Counties alone who qualify for free or reduced-cost school lunches (51,000 in Kent County, 17,000 in Muskegon County and 16,300 in Ottawa County). Our summer Sack Supper service helps thousands of those children receive a healthy, consistent evening meal through school and community programs, but we know we can do more – we have to do more, both for the children we serve and for the children on our waiting list who need us and we can’t yet serve.
We know that access to good, healthy nourishing food has the power to shape lives and change the future. That’s why we believe healthy food is a right – not a privilege – for every child.
Our expansion into urban farming in Grand Rapids and critical farm partnerships in Muskegon and Ottawa Counties, help ensure kids have access to the healthy foods they need in order to thrive this summer. Healthy foods such as snap peas, apples, mini bell peppers, string beans, grapes, berries, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and carrots are all frequently served in our Sack Suppers and can help children enjoy a healthy summer.
I hope you’ll find opportunities, both with Kids’ Food Basket and in your daily lives, to promote the value not only of healthy foods, but of equitable, consistent access to those healthy foods for our entire community. Join us at our farm to see the fresh produce growing in our own backyard, sign up for a volunteer shift to prepare and pack Sack Suppers (all summer!), share our story with your friends, family and coworkers, or consider a gift to help us continue this important work each and every day.
However you choose to support our work, I truly, endlessly thank you. I’m excited for what summer holds for all of us in West Michigan, and for the amazing opportunity to shape thousands of children’s lives with the added
benefit of consistent, healthy food. Thank you for making our world a better place.
PS: As a charitably funded nonprofit, we rely on the generosity of our community to support our critical services.
Thank you for ensuring our local kids have access to the nutrition they need to thrive year-round!
Save the Date!
We can’t wait to celebrate YOU at our annual Volunteer and Donor Appreciation on June 19 from 11 AM – 1 PM at Central United Methodist Church. Join us for complimentary food, fun, and games. There is something fun for all ages! Click HERE to RSVP.
Community Partner Shout Out
Busche Aluminum has come alongside Kids’ Food Basket as a tremendous partner and advocate for our local kids. As new participants in the March Community Partner Challenge, Busche Aluminum donated over 700 pounds of food, decorated hundreds of Sack Supper bags, volunteered over 400 hours and raised over $5,000 to generously support our mission! In addition to the March Community Partner Challenge, they’ve committed to being monthly volunteers, ensuring our local kids have the nutrition they need to learn and live well. Thank you Busche Aluminum for being a part of the community solution to childhood hunger!
March Community Partner Challenge Results
We are so grateful for the 26 teams that joined us for our annual March Community Partner Challenge. This friendly, bracket style competition allows teams within our community to get involved in ways that work best for them. This year, a total of 12,721 pounds of food was collected, $28,259 was raised, 5,623 volunteer hours were given, and 24,500 decorated bags were donated! A huge congratulations to our overall champion, Hearthstone Bistro! And, a big congrats to all of our Division Winners: ADAC Automotive (Division I), Honeywell (Division II), Kaydon-SKF (Division III), and EQI (Division IV). Thank you for ensuring our local kids have the opportunity to reach their full potential!
Grow 4 Kids
Grow 4 Kids is in its 6th year in Muskegon, and we have been fortunate enough to have amazing community partners growing on behalf of our local kids and donating fresh food items such as cherries, pears, cherry tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, peppers and sugar snap peas! Grow 4 Kids is an opportunity to donate a row, a box, a tree, bush or an acre. No matter the size of your garden, you can help ensure that kids in our community have the nutritious foods they need to thrive. Our greatest needs right now are orchards and gardens that have the ability to donate fresh fruits. Want to learn more or sign up? Contact Lynn Keech at Lynnk@kidsfoodbasket.org or call 231-747-8575.
We Need You!
Providing a Sack Supper each weeknight to nearly 1,300 children takes a lot of support from people like you! Our biggest need right now is for volunteers who are willing to deliver Sack Suppers to the schools and summer sites we serve each weekday. To inquire about this opportunity and learn more, contact LynnK@kidsfoodbasket.org. Additionally, consider putting one of our more needed food items on your list the next time you go grocery shopping:
- Snack Size Zipper Lock Bags
- Sandwich Size Zipper Lock Bags
- Toasted Oat Cereal
Click HERE for our printable Wish List! You can drop off donations between 9 AM – 5 PM at 1011 2nd Street Muskegon 49440.
Come taste the culinary wonders of West Michigan! Join West Michigan’s most prominent chefs at Chef Prize for a day of mingling, food and fun as we showcase the many flavors of our community. Chef Prize will take place Sunday, September 8 from 12-4 PM at Hampton Green Farm. Tickets will go on sale in June. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.
For more information please contact email@example.com.
“Last spring, we visited Cardinal Elementary to host a taste testing. I walked into one of the fourth grade classrooms, and as soon as I got through the door, a little girl approached me. She asked if I was the one that wrote the inspirational words on her bag. When I told her it wasn’t me, but people ALL over the community who helped decorate our Sack Supper bags, including kids just like her, her face just lit up!”
– Angel Mendiola, Muskegon Program and Development Coordinator