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PHOTO RELEASE: MDARD Director Gary McDowell Visits Kids' Food Basket in Grand Rapids

In 2021, Kids' Food Basket served over 1.3 million healthy meals to young Michiganders 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell toured Kids’ Food Basket to understand better how this local organization addresses food insecurities within the Grand Rapids area. Throughout 2022, McDowell is traveling across the state, meeting with food and agricultural businesses as they advance during Michigan's economic recovery and revitalization. 

The Kids’ Food Basket aims to pursue a hunger-free West Michigan in a way that promotes the experiences and passion of the local community. At Kids’ Food Basket, they believe healthy food is a right, not a privilege, for every child in Michigan. 

The program began by providing 125 students at three schools in Kent County with nourishing evening meals in a brown bag, which they called Sack Suppers. Nearly 20 years later, thanks to the support of a diverse range of community partners, they have grown to now serve thousands of children and families in four counties throughout West Michigan every day. 

“Governor Whitmer is committed to ensuring every Michigander has access to healthy, affordable food, especially our children. No child should have to worry about where their next meal will come from,” said Director McDowell. “The Kids’ Food Basket program is a fantastic example of how our local communities are stepping up to help close food insecurity gaps. When we all work together, we can ensure our students can get healthy, fresh food to help them develop and thrive.”   

In March of 2022, Governor Gretchen Whitmer's Food Security Council released several recommendations to help combat food insecurity across Michigan. Recommendations include increasing funding for fresh food through local and regional programs, increasing feedback from Michiganders who use community food programs, and ensuring Medicaid beneficiaries, such as those with diabetes, can access medically appropriate food.    

Throughout 2022, Director McDowell is meeting with Michigan's food and agricultural businesses to focus on how they can continue to thrive in Michigan's new economy and how MDARD can best assist their continuous development.

Director McDowell Kids Food Basket 1

Dowell Kids Food Basket 2

 Director Kids' Food Basket 3