Jenison students pack food for kids facing hunger

Ottawa County

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Kindergartners and fourth-graders at Sandy Hill Elementary in Jenison got to work Thursday, packing meals to feed kids in need.

“Every bag will get a milk, some cereal and two different types of granola bars,” one teacher directed the students. “This is what you’re going to make today and we’re going to make 500. Yeah, that’s a lot.”

It’s a project that’s bigger than the 100 students who took time to give back — a lot bigger. According to Hand2Hand, a West Michigan organization fighting childhood hunger, 1 in 5 Michigan children face of the possibility of going without a meal. Hunger can hold kids back from learning, living and thriving.

“We’re hoping to start a little fire in them,” Myra Baine, a Sandy Hill kindergarten teacher, said of the students who packed the meals.

For fourth-grader Tatum Brancheau Postma, the fire is already burning.

“I like doing this kind of stuff. I enjoy helping others I don’t know. It’s fun for me,” she said.

She knows what amounted to 15 minutes of work for her and her classmates is a big deal for those who need a little help.

“When they hear that someone else isn’t getting what they have, they want to help them get that,” Tatum said.

The meals are for kids to eat on weekends, when they can’t rely on free or reduced lunches at school. Some of the packages put together Thursday will feed some of the kids who packed them.

The program started with a small grant from the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and blossomed in to a fundraiser to benefit Hand2Hand.

“We want real-world problems that we see as kindergartners and fourth-graders, any grade, that we can be problem solvers,” Baine said.

Baine said the next step is brainstorming how to expand the partnership.

Like the sign on the wall inside their school, Tatum and her classmates are looking inward as they make a positive impact in their community:

“Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world,” Tatum read.

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