This fall, as many were gearing up to go back to school, Ross Medical Education Center in Kentwood held a drive collecting juice boxes and granola bars for Kids’ Food Basket (KFB). KFB is the largest organization of its kind in West Michigan. According to their website, in the last decade, they have grown from providing 125 children with “Sack Suppers” to over 6,000 children. The juice boxes and snack bars that are donated are used to make these “Sack Suppers” for local kids that otherwise have nothing to eat outside of the meals provided by the school. The “Sack Supper” comes with one serving of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat/cheese sandwich or tortilla roll-up, 100% fruit juice box, and two healthy snacks (granola bar, string cheese, trail mix, etc). What started out as a small program to provide a group of school-aged children with an evening meal is now providing nourishment to thousands of kids in greater Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
Ross staff, faculty, and students in Kentwood took donation to the next level and decided to also give of their time to make sandwiches and to sort food items for delivery. Together with other volunteers, they made over 1,000 sandwiches and sorted juice boxes, snacks, and other items to fill the sacks. They also brought with them nearly 200 decorated lunch bags that were used to pack the kids’ meals. Each day, the sacks are decorated with positive messages, cheerful illustrations, holiday themes, or anything that could add joy to a child’s day.
After the experience, the Ross community was eager to find other ways to help. They decided that they will continue to decorate bags and look for opportunities to support Kids’ Food Basket in the future. Laura Jorgensen, a Medical Assistant student, shared, “My daughter asked when we could go back to help more.” Laura and her kids continue to volunteer by delivering lunches. It’s hard to tell who received more from the experience, the organization or those that volunteered.
If you are interested in finding out more about Kids’ Food Basket and/or are interested in donating or volunteering, check out their website at www.kidsfoodbasket.org or call them at 616.235.4532 (Grand Rapids) or 231.577.6532 (Muskegon).