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 Some act out in order to seek more attention, others regress and become quiet and withdrawn.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.”
Happy Summer, Kids’ Food Basket Champions!
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!
We’re Moving and Growing!
Our lease is up on Oak Industrial Drive and we’re moving to our new location! We are excited to begin the 2019-2020 school year in our new headquarters location at 1300 Plymouth NE. Kids’ Food Basket’s future location will allow for expanded nutritional programming and increased access to healthy nourishing food for our community’s children. We still have $300,000 to raise towards the Feeding Our Future Campaign, and as a charitably funded nonprofit organization, we need you to help us see this project to completion. Together we’re making real change for children experiencing hunger in West Michigan, and we couldn’t do it without YOU. Save the date for our Grand Opening on October 3rd as we host our community of advocates, supporters and volunteers to view our new space. And, sign up to receive emails from Kids’ Food Basket HERE so we can keep you updated on our move in real time.
We are thrilled to be planting for the third year on our 10-acre chemical-free, sustainable farm! We’ve seen tremendous impact in the last two years. The community is engaging in and learning about food production, tending to crops and preparing produce to go in Sack Suppers. This year, our goal is to grow and harvest 80,000 servings of fresh produce. What will we grow? A variety of grape and cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, string beans, grapes and blackberries will be grown this year to supplement our Sack Suppers. Because of your passion and support, we are creating new and exciting opportunities like providing hands-on experiences to teach children and families about fresh and nutritious eating, while providing our local kids with the nourishment they need to reach their dreams. Click HERE to view a variety of volunteer opportunities available on the farm!
Community Partner Shout Out
Fifth Third Bank has been a tremendous community partner and advocate for our local kids. Their employees have spent many hours volunteering regularly at Kids’ Food Basket and even facilitating our evening volunteer shifts! They have generously given financially to support our mission in all three locations and have been a continued supporter and sponsor of our annual Feast for Kids event. Last but not least, their leadership has served on our Board of Directors and Holland Advisory Board, ensuring our local kids have the nutrition they need to learn and live well. Thank you Fifth Third Bank for being a part of the community solution to childhood hunger!
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 summer we hosted a taste testing at West Godwin Elementary with vegetables grown at the Kids’ Food Basket Farm. I noticed one particular student folding leftover seeds neatly into his napkin from the mini bell peppers he just ate. When I asked him if he was going to throw them away, he joyfully said, ‘No! I’m saving these so I can plant them at my house and have my own garden!”
– Troy Vos, Kids Helping Kids Specialist