GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)-The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a public health and economic crisis, the effects of which are widespread. The repercussions will include added hardship for already vulnerable populations as well as a significant increase in the number of people experiencing food insecurity. Although food insecurity is harmful to any individual, food insecurity is particularly devastating among children due to their increased vulnerability and the potential for long-term consequences.
What does childhood food insecurity look like in our counties?
MONTCALM COUNTY IONIA COUNTY 16.6% (2018) 11.4% (2018) 25.9% (2020) 20.8% (2020) Increase of 56.3% Increase of 82.6% (2020 Numbers Feeding America Meal Gap Map Projection)
IM Kids 3rd Meal program has worked for the last five years to provide food insecure children a free, well-balanced meal distributed at school at the end of each day to take home for an evening meal. Now that many schools are moving in and out of virtual learning students are not getting their supplemental meals consistently.
IM Kids 3rd Meal will begin providing supplemental evening meals to school age children on virtual learning. Parents will be able to pick up evening meals in Greenville and Ionia at the same time they pick up breakfast and lunch meals beginning the week of December 7. You will see a vehicle with a trailer and signage in the parking lot. If an evening meal is needed for your child, please go to the trailer to pick up an evening meal after receiving your breakfast and lunch meals from school.
IM Kids 3rd Meal will be in Ionia on Monday (Jefferson Elementary) and Wednesday (Twin Rivers Elementary) from 10AM-NOON. The program will be at Greenville High School on Tuesday from 11:15-12:30. Please pick up you breakfast and lunch meals from the school before coming to the IM Kids 3rd Meal trailer.
How to help:
IM Kids 3rd Meal program has provided 382,932 meals utilizing 19, 078 volunteers who have donated 34, 091 service hours to the program as of June 2020. If you’d like to help, consider a cash donation, donation of individualized packaged items or volunteer to make and pack meals. You can donate on the IM Kids 3rd Meal website. A wish list is also on the website for food donations. The program is currently in need of the following items:
Prepackaged items (crackers, fruit snacks, granola bars, etc.)
Individualized meals (1 serving mac & cheese, spaghetti, etc.)
Ziploc Gallon bags for packaging meals
IM Kids 3rd Meal appreciates the community’s support for a local community solution to addressing childhood hunger during challenge of a pandemic.