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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

A call to action on social media helps the basic needs of a local family during the winter storm

Marten Bjork on Unsplash

In four Facebook messages, Magdalena Rivera had the word out that a local family in the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood in Grand Rapids did not have enough food to eat.  The resident of Grand Rapids credits her informal social media networks for getting the family connected to resources so quickly. 

“So, within an hour, and an hour a half, Candy and Andrea were coordinating together and the family then had a plan.” 

Candy Isabel and Andrea Inostroza work for the Kent County School Services Network connecting families to basic need resources in a Grand Rapids Public School. Even though their agency was closed due to the weather, they did not stop ensuring the families they work with had their basic needs met.

“I was glad to see that that family was able to get that help from their KSSN people and then, as you saw in those posts, the community is ready to drop off meals or do whatever they need to. I think for circumstances like this its important for us to coordinate with people who work in those roles every day with those families as well.” 

According to Access of West Michigan more than 20 percent of children in Kent County are considered to be food insecure — meaning they don’t always know from where their next meal will come, nor do they have enough access to healthy food. Rivera explain that for low-income families who were expecting their kids to receive up to three meals per day at school– the unexpected days off creates a barrier for them. 

“I think parents quickly learn that having that food in the household that they normally wouldn’t need during the day is making a huge difference for them especially during a time when kids have been home for now a week – going on a week.” 

The YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids will be providing a full meal to Grand Rapids Public School students and families on Friday from 11:30am – 2pm, and for families living on the West Side El Granjero Restaurant will be offering a free meal to neighborhood children through Sunday. 

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.