The waiting lists for meals are long and growing, said Bridget Clark Whitney, the founding CEO of the Kids’ Food Basket, a grassroots program in Grand Rapids that she said needs to expand. According to Kids’ Food Basket there are approximately 1.9 million families in Michigan who are food insecure and approximately 28,790 food insecure children ages 0 to 17 living in Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa and Allegan counties, which are the counties Kids’ Food Basket currently serves. “Kids’ Food Basket serves about 1100 healthy meals 7 days a week that is only eleven percent of the need. “We have quite a lot of growth that needs to happen to work to ensure all of our children have the nourishment they need to be their best both in school and in life, said Whitney.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic and temporary shutdown, the Kids’ Food Basket had to pivot from providing healthy food to kids alone to providing healthy food to whole families.
Sack Lunch Program Credit: Kids Food Basket
Kids’ Food Basket’s core belief is that access to healthy food is a right, not a privilege. However, this is not yet a reality, so we mobilize our volunteers and donors to help us break down the barriers that cause food insecurity,” said Kids Food Basket Communications Director, Kimberly Moore.
Checking on growth from harvest of foods at Kids’ Food Basket Farms Credit: Kids Food Basket
While the flagship Sack Supper model continues to be the most efficient way to get nourishing food into the hands of our community, the organization adopted a menu of services that the community partners use to increase food access to meet the personalized needs of its neighbors.
Infographic of community services Kids’ Food Basket provides Credit: Sarah Benner
“The Kids Food Basket is a movement that seeks to meet immediate nutritional needs while planting the seeds of sustainable change for generations, said Moore.”