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Snyder, volunteers teaming up with Kids' Food Basket to help fight childhood hunger

Organization provides sack suppers to 6,000 students

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder joined volunteers and Kids’ Food Basket to help fight childhood hunger and provide some Grand Rapids-area students with a meal to take home from school.

Snyder today was joined by volunteers from AmeriCorps Grand Rapids, the Michigan Community Service Commission and members of his staff at Kids’ Food Basket, an organization that provides about 6,000 sack dinners to children in 31 schools in metro Grand Rapids and Muskegon Heights.

“Too many children in our communities don’t get enough to eat, which affects their health and their ability to do better in school,” Snyder said. “Groups like Kids’ Food Basket play an important role in this community helping with the problem. But there are ways that everyone can support efforts in their own cities and towns to help with this problem and many others.”

Kids’ Food Basket is in its 11th year of helping students in the West Michigan communities. About 200 volunteers each day prepare a sack supper to students in schools in Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Godwin Heights, Wyoming, and Muskegon Heights districts.

The nonprofit organization also served more than 2,000 children at 29 park and school sites every day for nine weeks last summer.

Kids’ Food Basket is funded through donations from individuals, families, churches, businesses, civil groups, corporations and foundations.

“One in four children in Michigan struggle with hunger,” Executive Director Bridget Clark Whitney said. “We're working hard to provide nutritious meals, serving them directly in a way that’s dignifying and accessible. The support of this initiative is critical. We know that when kids have access to food their minds and bodies grow strong and they do better in school.”

Mary K. Hoodhood founded the organization after hearing a Grand Rapids Public Schools principal talk about finding a student poking through garbage bins looking for food.

The program started with meals for 125 students in three schools, growing now to 32 sites in two counties. There are still schools on a waiting list.

Today’s event was part of the Michigan Ambassador Project, which encourages residents to volunteer to “Do Something!” in their communities. The program helps Michiganders get connected to volunteer opportunities, share their stories of volunteerism or successes in the state, and pledge to get others involved.

Through the website, participants can get information on various volunteer opportunities. Users also may text “ACTION” to 25827 or call 1-855-440-6424 to get involved.

“Do Something Michigan is a wonderful way for people to get involved,” Snyder said. “Everyone can make a difference in their community and be an ambassador for our state, and this is a great opportunity to take part. This program is an opportunity to assist people who want to help get connected with groups and events in their communities that make a difference.”