HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — While most kids are rejoicing over the extra snow days brought on by this blast of winter weather, some are missing meals.
A Hudsonville-based group is reaching out to try to keep that from happening. Hand2Hand provides meals to thousands of school kids in 40 West Michigan districts on weekends. Now it is extending service through the storm.
“As you can see, we’ve a bunch of these (meals) getting ready to go to our church partners,” Hand2Hand Founder and Executive Director Cheri Honderd showed 24 Hour News 8 Wednesday.
Every Thursday and Friday, Hand2Hand partner church volunteers go to participating schools and hand out food to children from preschool to high school who participate in free and reduced-price meal programs.
“We have 104 churches going in to 160 schools, right now feeding 5,700 kids,” Honderd said. “We deliver hope through a bag of weekend food.”
It’s a way to get kids through the weekend until they’re back in school, where a meal is guaranteed.
But this week, Mother Nature voided that guarantee. The area’s largest district, Grand Rapids Public Schools, will remain closed through the rest of the week thanks to the winter weather. Others are following suit.
With school doors closed, many kids don’t have access to daily meals. Honderd said it shouldn’t be that way.
“We have plenty of resources, so many generous donors. We can get you some food to get you through this snowstorm,” she said.
Hand2Hand is reaching out on Facebook and other social media platforms to get the word out to parents of kids who rely on its weekend meals.
“I just put a call out on our Facebook page, if there are families in need, Had2Hand families in need, please reach out to us via Facebook or email, h2hkids.org, and we will let those individual churches that are actually servicing you, giving the food to the kids every weekend, let them know. Hopefully we can get some food to you,” Honderd said. “Either come to your home or you could come pick it up somewhere.”
Hand2hand also provides families with some food for the soul by offering prayers.
Additional help is available. On Thursday and Friday, the YMCA of Grand Rapids is providing meals to Grand Rapids Public School students and families through the Y’s Food Service Program. Families can stop by the downtown YMCA, The Rapid Central Station, Seymour Christian Reformed Church and Kids’ Food Basket from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Battle Creek Public Schools is offering free lunch to students and families on Thursday at the Battle Creek Central High School commons area from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dean Transportation is donating the buses and time to pick people up from each elementary school between 10:45 p.m. and 2 p.m.
In Fremont, high school principal Scott Sherman posted on his school’s Facebook page that any families in need of food should contact him. He said his team would do its best to make sure every student gets fed.
Orchard View Schools has arranged for families to pick up Kids’ Food Basket take-home meals for students at the Orchard View Community Education Center at 1765 Ada Ave. between 10:30 a.m. and noon Friday.
You can also contact the United Way’s 211 for help.