Students partner to fight hunger

By Rachel Huck | 2/11/16 12:04am

GVL / Courtesy of Kids Food Basket
by Kids Food Basket and Kids Food Basket / The Lanthorn

Living a healthy life has various meanings across the globe. From person to person, the word could refer to exercising or even consuming less sugar. However, to some people, maintaining health equates to the daily struggle to obtain food and water.

According to the organization Feeding America, 15 million children in the U.S. face hunger, while one in five kids are starving every day.

Grand Valley State University is a longtime partner with Kids’ Food Basket in Grand Rapids, in an effort to provide local children with adequate nutrition.

"The support of this initiative is critical,” said Bridget Clark Whitney, executive director of Kids’ Food Basket. “We know that when kids have access to food, their minds and bodies grow strong and they do better in school.”

Since July 1, 2015, reports that the Grand Rapids branch of Kids’ Food Basket has served 492,067 sack lunches to children in need.

“With the support of the community, we can provide a child daily access to nutritious sack suppers that contain the brain food, healthy habits and a touch of love from the community’s involvement and dedication to help local kids thrive,” Whitney said.

In July of 2015, a GVSU marketing class raised more than $3,000 in just five days for Kids’ Food Basket. The fundraising of these GVSU students provided meals for 3,382 children.

"Teachers can’t teach and kids can’t learn when they suffer from hunger,” Whitney said. “We are a catalyst of systemic change. We are changing the futures of the kids that we are serving."

Ultimately, 78 percent of donations made go directly to the programs throughout Kids’ Food Basket branches.

Online, in person, over the phone or at a Kids’ Food Basket location, donors can specify to which specific branch or branches they would like their donations to go; Grand Rapids, Muskegon or Holland.

"We are proud to have several GVSU alumni on our staff, and regular GVSU students who participate in our intern program,” said Afton DeVos, associate director of the organization.

In addition, the Kids’ Food Basket will be a charity partner for GVSU’s Battle of the DJs event, which will occur in April.

“We are also thrilled with the university's involvement, including student groups who regularly volunteer and host community-based fundraisers on our behalf,” DeVos said.

There are many ways to become involved with Kids’ Food Basket. Volunteers may work to prepare sack suppers for children, and there are also a number of off-site volunteer opportunities through the organization.

For more information on how to volunteer or donate, visit

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