The Kiwanis Club of Grand Rapids, MI has chosen to help one our favorite non-profit partners Kids Food Basket with a playground. Kid’s Food Basket has just competed an 8 million dollar purchase and build of a new facility and farm. The 10 acre development in now a center of urban agriculture. Kids’ Food Basket is partnering with school districts to give classrooms the instructional environment needed to learn effective, farming lessons. Now they need a playground.
Kids’ Food Basket is changing health for children by addressing immediate hunger needs. We are working to not only feed but also educate children about food and nutrition. We were founded eighteen years ago after a Grand Rapids Public School principal witnessed some children rummaging through garbage looking for food. This principal began to seek out evening meal services for children.
Kids’ Food Basket was founded with a $3,000 donation, seven volunteers (one of the volunteers was Norm Ginebaugh, a member (now deceased) of our club, and the person we will dedicate the playground to) and a dream: to ensure every child in our community is nourished to thrive both in and beyond the classroom. Kids’ Food Basket delivers a nourishing evening meal each weekday to elementary children (ages 3-12), who live in food-insecure households. Every child served attends a school where, on average, 70% or more of the student population receives free or reduced cost breakfast and lunch. Since 2002, we have grown from serving 125 children per day at two schools in Kent County to now serving approximately 8,800 children per day at 52 schools in West Michigan. Our work over the past eighteen years has proven how good nutrition has the power to shape a child’s life and change the future.
As a charitably funded organization, we need three things in order to deliver our mission: friends, food, and funds. That being said, we have thrived without any government funding.
With an environmentally sustainable farm, Kids’ Food Basket is able to host our diverse community to work for Good Food for all. The activities of the farm are anchored by youth, ages 6-18, who plant and harvest summer crop.
With the addition of a playground , Kids’ Food Basket will further our work in fueling our mission of nourishing kids to reach their full potential Creating a space for all kids have access to play. The physical, emotional and social benefits of play cannot be overstated.
We have become a volunteer destination in Grand Rapids because of our ability to host an experience that cultivates community, while meeting urgent, and emergent needs. Nearly 33% of our volunteer force is made up of children under the age of 18. Our dedicated youth volunteer program focuses on involving students of all ages in the Kids’ Food Basket mission.
We empower young people to help each other. We provide opportunities for all kids who experience hunger, and those who do not, to volunteer and to learn through our programs. The idea is that all students understand the challenges of hunger and have the opportunity to lead projects that benefit their peers, and larger community.
Last year alone, we facilitated service projects with nearly 8,000 students across Kent county,