Grand Rapids Kids Food basket broke on a 15-acre site serving as an urban farm and a new space for increasing the number of sack suppers prepared for low-income school children.
On the site of the City of Grand Rapids last remaining parcel of farmland along Leonard Street N.E., Kids Food Basket broke ground on its new $7.5 million two-story, 27,000 square foot building.
“Filling up the Van Andel Arena three-times over, that’s how many kids in Kent County struggle with food insecurity. This will allow us to serve way more children and really be able to attack this issue head-on.” Founding Kids Food Basket CEO, Bridget Clark Whitney. “Because we have 15 schools on our waiting list a new building will allow us to expand our services, be able to chip away at that waiting list and be able to serve up to 15,000 kids a day, which is so important. Right now we’re only serving 21 percent of the need and there are so many children here in West Michigan that need our services.”
With more than 240 volunteers, Kids Food basket currently prepares, packs and delivers Sack Suppers to nearly 8,000 students across 46 West Michigan elementary schools. These are evening meals that Whitney says “provides nutrition critical to the development of the brain and body.” And now with a farm, Kids Food basket will grow its own.
“We are combining both our critical service with the opportunity to do education each and every weekday getting kids on this chemical-free, sustainable farmland growing their own food understanding how to plant, how to grow, how to harvest, why that’s important, why we need to be putting healthy food into our bodies.”
Amway helped with the naming rights. The farm is now known as Kids’ Food Basket Farm Strengthened by Nutrilite. The site yielding over 10,000 pounds of fresh vegetables in 2017-2018 at the hands of over 1,000 children and adult volunteers.
Patrick Center, WGVU News.