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Attacking ChildhoodHunger Together

Healthy eating is more powerful than you might think. We all share in the benefits that come from consistent, nutritious food prepared with love. Good 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. But not all kids have access to nutritious meals and therefore experience hunger and undernourishment. YOU can do something about it.

A strong West Michigan depends on strong kids. That is why we are excited to introduce our three-year organizational strategic map. As a community of volunteers, donors, families and children, we are working together to nourish kids’ bodies and minds, grow sustainable food, learn from hands-on experiences and engage as a diverse community to solve childhood hunger.

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Kids’ Food Basket Holiday Cards

Who’s on your list this year? Friends, family, colleagues, staff, customers… in lieu of holiday gifts, you can give a gift that ensures West Michigan’s future leaders will learn & live well. For a minimum donation of $5 per holiday card, you’re supporting the 8,000 children who receive a Sack Supper each weekday, providing nourishment children need, and equipping them with the education needed to make healthy food choices lifelong.

Submit your holiday card orders by December 7, 2018 to ensure you have received them in time for the holiday’s.

New this year! Spread joy today by sending eCards this holiday season!

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Join Our Donor Wall

The campaign goal is in sight! The Feeding Our Future campaign is seeking a critical $500,000 to grow our community’s capacity to nourish more children on the waiting list. Rally your friends, family and community to join us in Kids’ Food Basket’s mission of nourishing children to reach their full potential.

Make a gift of $100 or more and leave a personal legacy or honor a loved one, family or company on our reclaimed wood donor wall. Naming opportunities are also still available!

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Kids’ Food Basket Friends & Supporters:

It is hard for many of us to truly understand the power of hunger and undernourishment in the life of a young person. We all know the feeling of being hungry, but for thousands of young people in our community, persistent hunger is a reality negatively impacting their daily lives. In fact, according to the Kids Count Data Center by the Annie E. Casey Foundation,

  • over 48,000 children in Kent County qualify for free or reduced cost school lunch. With 15 schools on our waiting list, we are only serving 12.5% of the need,
  • almost 16,000 children in Muskegon County qualify for free or reduced cost school lunch. With 12 schools on our waiting list, we are only serving 7% of the need,
  • and, almost 15,000 children in Ottawa County qualify for free or reduced cost school lunch. With 3 schools on our waiting list, we are only serving 6% of the need.

Growth is both necessary and critical for a strong West Michigan. Investing in Kids’ Food Basket isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do-it’s an investment in the future economic success of our region.

While a Sack Supper isn’t the only thing that helps kids succeed, it’s a basic need at a critical time in their lives. Good, consistent, nourishing food every day allows West Michigan kids to focus on things that shape their future success and not where their next meal will come from.

This cycle of poverty and hunger deprives kids of a quality education which is most likely their key to a path out of poverty. Individuals who experience poverty as children are more likely to experience poverty as adults, are less likely to graduate high school and go on to secondary education, and are less likely to have  consistent jobs as young adults. An investment in our children and an investment in breaking down the barriers of poverty is far more powerful than you may think.

The data proves that well-nourished kids have less truancy, less sicknesses, significantly less behavioral issues, and significantly increased academic scores. Furthermore, it’s estimated that for every dollar spent on reducing childhood poverty, our communities would save at least seven dollars with respect to the economic costs of poverty. Again, for every one dollar spent to reduce poverty, we save at least seven dollars on the cost of poverty. Investing in Kids’ Food Basket is truly investing in the current and future economic success of West Michigan.

When you give your time and resources, you are helping to break this cycle. You are both attacking childhood hunger in your community and helping to break down the barriers that prevent our local kids from reaching their full potential.

Kids’ Food Basket’s programming is charitably funded, meaning every healthy meal for our kids is funded by YOU, our generous supporters and community.

At Kids’ Food Basket, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to reach their full potential – a chance to write their own story, not just the one handed to them. YOU help us serve 8,000 children evening meals every week day between Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa Counties—that’s service to 47 West Michigan elementary schools! Sack Suppers are more than just an evening meal, they are a powerful tool for creating long-term impact.

With deep gratitude on behalf of our kids,

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94,000 Decorated Bags. 94,000 Smiles.

In 2011, we created our own international holiday Brown Bag Decorating Day. Not just a day to decorate bags, but a day for creativity, innovation and an easy way to make the world a better, kinder place. This year brought in over 94,000 bags decorated for local kids – enough for every child we serve to have a decorated bag for 11 days!

We received bags from all over the country and heard hundreds of stories, but one in particular really touched our hearts. Beulah Cordle, a 92 year-old woman who has lived most of her life in Muskegon, suffered from multiple health issues and recently lost her husband. “We started realizing she was losing her spirit,” her daughter Marquita shared. Beulah, a mother of five once an active and so full of life, now felt like she was losing her purpose to live.

Last winter when visiting her mother, Marquita brought along brown paper bags and markers, thinking she could decorate bags for Kids’ Food Basket. “Oh, I can’t draw good enough to do something like that,” Beulah said. After much prodding, her daughter got her to try just one. Since that day, she has decorated more than 500 Sack Supper bags. Each bag is a piece of art and carefully written are the words ‘I love you’, so that each child knows that they are loved.

“When I go to bed at night, my fingers are still moving. I can’t stop thinking about the pictures. It makes my whole life worth living,” she shared.

Teachers and school staff tell us at Kids’ Food Basket that kids can’t wait to get their decorated Sack Suppers, and that extra touch of love and caring makes all the difference. Thank you to everyone, caring people like Beulah, that took the time to decorate a Sack Supper bag. Every single one will go right into the hands of a child that knows you care.

Everyone can make this world better every day. And sometimes, it’s as simple as a brown paper bag decorated with love. Join us year-round by decorating Sack Supper bags and spreading kindness that can truly change the world.

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Kids’ Food Basket Becomes Peanut & Tree-Nut Free Friendly

 

Oh, nuts! They sure can cause trouble if you or a loved one is allergic to them – and the number of allergy cases continues to rise. Kids’ Food Basket is committed to offering a safe environment for all and has adopted a peanut and tree-nut free friendly policy. This means that we avoid items with peanuts or tree nuts in the ingredient list, but some items could be made in facilities that also produce peanuts or nuts, or may contain trace amounts of peanuts or nuts. Incorporating this standard will ensure the safety of students receiving Sack Suppers, and protect volunteers that come together to prepare, pack and deliver the meals that help children live and learn well.

  • Dried Fruit
  • Fruit Cups or Pouches
  • Snack Size Zipper Bags
  • Toasted Oat Cereal
  • Bite-sized Baked Cheese Crackers
  • Pretzel Twists

As our organization embarks on this new endeavor, we ask you to join us in providing nutritious food items to thousands of kids in our local community. Whether you are adding one of the items below to your grocery list or coordinating a Wish List drive, your support will make an immediate impact!

Community Partner Shout Outs

Grand Rapids Community Partner

Amway has been committed to improving nutrition access and programming for our West Michigan kids since 2002. They have continued to deepen their impact, leveraging their passion and best practices, by infusing their knowledge of sustainable farming into our new Urban Growing and Experiential Learning Program. That is why we are excited to share the name of our new farm: Kids’ Food Basket Farm Strengthened by Nutrilite Exclusively by Amway. The name is in recognition of their dedication to educating youth and adults alike on the immense value of nutrition and health. We are grateful for our partnership and the opportunity to take part in events like the Amway Fireworks and Amway River Bank Run. Interested in finding ways to get your company involved? We want to hear from you! Contact Ashley.Diersch@kidsfoodbasket.org.

 

Muskegon Community Partner

Kids’ Food Basket is so grateful to be a partnering with the Mercy Health Community Benefit Board Initiative for a three-year matching grant to expand services into our sixth school, Orchard View Early Elementary. This partnership will allow Kids’ Food Basket to begin serving an additional 150 early head-start, kindergarten and first grade students – many of which are siblings to students we most recently began serving at Cardinal Elementary last January. This matching grant benefits Kids’ Food Basket with a challenge to match their funds donated to continue to build capacity and sustainability within our Muskegon program. We are incredibly grateful for the Project Advisory Board at Mercy Health, their leadership and mentorship as they help nourish kids in our community.

Special thanks to the Osteopathic Foundation of West Michigan for generously underwritting this newsletter! Interested in finding ways to get your company involved? We want to hear from you! Contact Stephanie.Kerr.Cathey@kidsfoodbasket.org.

 

Holland Community Partner

Our friends at Back to Health Chiropractic believe good food has the power to shape lives! Guided by their commitment to a strong West Michigan, they have engaged at every level of the organization by collecting Wish List items, hosting a community Kids’ Food Basket day, hosting brown bag decorating events, and providing financial support. Most recently, they have given their time treating Kids’ Food Basket volunteers with free appreciation massages. Special thanks to Back to Health Chiropractic for lending your hearts and hands, while inspiring the community to get involved and create positive change.
Interested in finding ways to get your company involved? We want to hear from you!
Contact Sean.Little@kidsfoodbasket.org.

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