HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — As school comes to an end for thousands of kids across West Michigan, many go hungry over the summer because they no longer receive free or reduced price lunches at school.
“We mobilize churches and schools to partner together in their own community to provide hope and food to kids who are facing hunger over the weekend,” said Cheri Honderd, founder of Hand 2 Hand.
Honderd began Hand 2 Hand back in 2008 and the program quickly grew. This school year they were in 85 schools in 26 districts feeding 3,700 kids across West Michigan.
“There’s childhood hunger possibly in your neighborhood, it’s not just in the inner city anymore. It doesn’t know a zip code. This allows families and children to be on mission to help feed the kids in their own school,” Honderd said.
Hand 2 Hand works with churches which take in donations from their congregations. Volunteers then pack backpacks with food for kids to eat over the weekend when they aren’t getting their school lunches. The lunches are delivered to the kids that are signed up before they go home for the weekend.
For the first time, Hand 2 Hand will be handing out food to kids in need over the summer — thanks in large part to Chad Ayers.
“The idea of the trailer came to mind. I need to bring this to my neighborhood so that folks that have a similar lifestyle as us can bring it to the trailer as opposed to bringing it to a building,” said Ayers.
Ayers donated the trailer Hand 2 Hand will use to collect food for its pilot summer program.
The trailer will be parked in a neighborhood for a few days or a business to take in donations.
“We as a host family would go door-to-door telling the neighbors about the trailer, what it’s for, what they can donate and bring to the trailer. Just leave it there three, four days. Opening it in the morning, closing it at night,” Ayers said.
Ayers has already had it in his neighborhood and says it was a huge success. It was also an experience he used to teach his girls about how fortunate they are and how important it is to give back.
“As soon as the kids got off the bus from school they would run to the trailer and see what was in there and stuff was in there every day that they got home from school, which was pretty exciting for them too,” said Ayers.
Hand 2 Hand does need help with volunteers, food donations and monetary donations.