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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Orchard View Elementary Students Get a Hand From Kids Food Basket

Kids Food Basket.  It's next to impossible to believe that in 2019 that we have to rely on a community outreach like Kids Food Basket to help assure that the children of our community are provided the 3 meals a day that are needed for proper nutrition to fuel their young bodies and minds, but the reality is, it takes a village..and it takes an organization like Kids Food Basket to maintain the food, and the awareness about the necessity.



Founded in 2001 when Mary K. Hoodhood heard from a principal in Grand Rapids that kids were digging through the trash in the lunch room to find food to take home for dinner, she knew something had to be done.  First thought was to call Child Protective services, but digging a little deeper, it wasn't abuse or neglect, it was simply the fact that the homes they came from simply had no money for food.  People working two or three jobs to make ends meet.  Sacrificing time away from family to simply keep a roof over their heads.
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Since 2001, Kids Food Basket has extended their reach past Grand Rapids.  They now help out in Holland and Muskegon as well, and if you're sitting down, we'll hit you with some statistics.  In West Michigan there are currently 794,700 children receiving free or reduced meals at school.  SEVEN HUNDRED AND NINETY FOUR THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED!  There are 8000 kids fed daily by Kids Food Basket at 47 schools and there are 30 schools on the waiting list for help for their students.  Folks...those numbers are simply staggering and this is not a problem limited to inner cities or rural areas.  Food insecurity is real and happening right where we live.  Including the Orchard View School District.

OV Elementary has become one of the newer schools that are receiving the "sack suppers" for the kids to take home for that all important evening meal.   As mentioned, it's not inner cities, it's not ghost towns it's neighborhoods with great pride and hard working families like Orchard View who are struggling.  Our friends and neighbors.  Hiding behind their pride and need.  Kids at the OV elementary schools were hiding food in their pockets and desks so they didn't have to go hungry at night.  Just next to impossible to believe.

I sat down with Angel Mendiola from the Kids Food Basket and OV Elementary Principal Heather MacDonald and Early Childhood Specialist Brandy Carey to talk about the cause and effect, as well as what they have found since Kids Food Basket has gotten involved at their schools.  We also talked a little about how Muskegon came together to make sure kids got fed during the Polar Vortex.  Take a listen.


It's on us all.  This is all of our future and it's the simplest of basic needs.  It's a grass roots organization to the core and it's based on all of us doing our little part.  If you'd like to know more about Kids Food Basket or if you'd like to know how to help.


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