GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you’ve seen a lot of the color orange around West Michigan this month, there’s a reason: March is National Nutrition Month and Kids’ Food Basket is encouraging people to “Go Orange” to raise awareness about childhood hunger.  

This year’s Go Orange event comes amid high inflation and at a time when Michigan families saw pandemic-era food stamp benefits expire. It’s been tough on families trying to make ends meet and keep their kids healthy.

“Over the last week we had 64 schools across West Michigan that participated. That was a record for us. We encourage everyone to wear orange for the rest of the month to raise awareness and make an impact,” Kids’ Food Basket Chief Operating Officer Erika Abbo said.

Going Orange aims to draw attention to work to improve food equity in all West Michigan neighborhoods.

“We rely on them every weekday to fulfill those sack suppers. We have two farms. We’re opening a second farm in Holland this Spring and we really rely on the volunteers to plant the fruits and vegetables that go into those sack suppers. We also serve other community partners as well. We have eleven community partners that we currently serve with those fresh fruits and vegetables so volunteerism is absolutely crucial as well,” Abbo said.

Kids’ Food Basket serves 10,000 evening meals in Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Muskegon counties each weekday. While that number sounds huge, it only meets about 12% of the need in West Michigan, according to data from Kids’ Food Basket.

If you would like to donate, you can visit the Kids’ Food Basket website. Wish list items include meat sticks, pudding cups and cheese crackers.