Mlive Podcast with Kids’ Food Basket
October is West Michigan’s harvest season, a time often known for its gorgeous autumnal tablescapes, bountiful garden goodness, and overflowing apple baskets. For thousands of children throughout the West Michigan area, however, that may not be the case. Childhood hunger is a regional and nationwide struggle, with more than 1.9 million Michigan residents and 13 million American children living in food-insecure homes. Food access impacts every facet of a child’s life, from physical health and long-term wellness to social engagement and educational success.
A longtime nonprofit partner and member of Eastbrook Homes’ Giving Back community, Kids’ Food Basket provides healthy, nourishing food and nutritional education to close to 10k children every day in four West Michigan counties. MLIVE Director of Brand Strategy Eric Hultgren recently sat down with Bridget Clark Whitney, CEO of Kids’ Food Basket, to discuss the impact of childhood hunger and what local community members and businesses can do to help.
Food Access: A Right for All Kids
Kids’ Food Basket believes every child has the right to access consistent, reliable, healthy food. Known regionally for their Sack Supper program, Kids’ Food Basket enlists the help of volunteers, community members, and local businesses like Eastbrook Homes to ensure West Michigan’s children receive the nourishment they deserve on a regular basis. Each Sack Supper contains a serving of fresh fruit, vegetables, protein, and a healthy snack, ensuring a strong foundation so kids can feel their best and reach their potential.
The organization’s positive impact doesn’t end at the table, however. Kids’ Food Basket meals are perfectly sandwiched between ongoing education programs centered around wellness habits and simple ways to positively impact dinner plates. In 2022 alone, over 5,000 West Michigan kids participated in Kids’ Food Basket educational programs. Their Ground Up Learning Lab showcases interactive lessons designed to teach kids about food origins, staying healthy, and building a positive community. Families are invited to tour one of Kids’ Food Basket’s two 10-acre farms, complete with year-round growing systems that provide fresh, sustainable, chemical-free produce throughout Michigan’s four seasons.
Between consistent, healthy brain food and hands-on learning opportunities, Kids’ Food Basket strives to engage kids through sustenance, play, and education. These lifelong lessons empower our community’s children so they can make good, positive choices throughout their health and wellness journey.
Proof – Positive Impact
After providing nourishing food to West Michigan kids for over two decades, Kids’ Food Basket proudly maintains impressive data points exemplifying their positive impact on the families around them:
- In their first year alone, schools participating in Kids’ Food Basket programming saw a 21% increase in national test scores and an 86% decrease in school suspensions.
- For the 2021/2022 school year, 89% of teachers reported that without Kids’ Food Basket, their classroom children wouldn’t have access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
- In May of 2022, 79% of teachers said because of Kids’ Food Basket, their kids chose healthy food choices over junk foods and beverages.
Results like these provide proof of the positive impact Kids’ Food Basket has on West Michigan communities and offer motivation toward expanding services to other regions and communities statewide.
Eastbrook Joins the Fight Against Hunger
Eastbrook’s September Brown Bag event was a fantastic success, with over 800 bags decorated! Thank you to all who joined us at our model homes to help Kids’ Food Basket reach their goal of 200,000 decorated paper bags for the Sack Supper program. We decorated each bag with encouraging notes, games, puzzles, and quotes to help brighten the day of recipients and spread joy and nourishment to as many kids as possible. Teachers report that the decorated bags make such a difference to the kids and bring that extra element of love Kids’ Food Basket is known for!
Interested in learning more about Kids’ Food Basket? Check out the Kids’ Food Basket website for local events, donation options, and volunteer opportunities or watch the YouTube video below for more info.
Looking to move your family to one of the most community-centered areas in the state? Build the home of your dreams with Eastbrook Homes. We value our Eastbrook families and proudly offer customizable homes and move-in-ready homes in stunning, family-friendly communities throughout West Michigan and the Greater Lansing Area. Connect with an experienced Eastbrook Homes Sales Agent here to learn more!