Food giveaway unleashes gridlock, support for Kent Co. families

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It was an inkling of hope that caused major gridlock but provided an overflow of support in Grand Rapids Thursday.

“Everybody came together to help one another during this virus outbreak,” Kevin Ervin said.

The Kent County Community Action held a food giveaway at the Kent County Human Services Complex to benefit families who are struggling to make ends meet and feed their children.

It was an act of kindness that backed up traffic for miles, leaving some drivers behind the wheel for at least three hours.

“We’re just now making it in, but it was worth it,” said Ervin.

Other neighbors were on foot. News 8’s Donovan Long walked with Oscar Villegas, as he wheeled  boxes of food back to his family.

“I have two children still at home, I have grand kids,” Villegas said. “We have to take precautions, we have to ration it took because we don’t know how long this is going to last.”

It’s true stories of hardship, like Villegas’, that fueled volunteers’ desire to help.

“It’s really important to me that food stability remains constant during any kind of emergency, but especially during this pandemic,” Beatrix Heynig said.

Heynig and the others shielded themselves with masks, while provide what’s called units. They consisted of 25 items, including nonperishable foods, fruits and other frozen foods.

“I hope we can help as many families as possible,” Heynig said.

Volunteers providing food during a giveaway event in Kent County. (March 26, 2020)

That help didn’t go unnoticed, and the long wait time wasn’t in vain.

“I think it’s awesome,” Ervin said. “I really do.”

Organizers said they donated 965 units, with plans to give away 1,000. Volunteers ran out of food, given the high demand for it, but plan to hold another giveaway in July. 

**Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the organization as Kent County Communication Action. It is actually Kent County Community Action. We have corrected the mistake, which we regret.


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