GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — For nearly 2 decades, Kids' Food Basket (KFB) has led the charge against childhood hunger in West Michigan. This month, the non-profit is asking community members to join the effort.
KFB has kicked off its month-long "Go Orange" campaign to raise awareness and support.
"Orange is the color of National Hunger Awareness and March, nationally, is National Nutrition Month. For years we've been using the month of March to raise awareness for the issue of childhood hunger in our community, to raise funds, and friends for our mission," says Afton DeVos, Chief Operating Officer for KFB. "Also, as we've evolved as an organization, we've recognized that education on healthy eating continues to be a barrier for under-resourced families. We have really started to talk about how nutrition awareness is equally as important. It's not just about hunger, it's also about food insecurity and good food insecurity and how to create healthy habits, which helps children have better health outcomes."
DeVos says 32% of people in Michigan are struggling to put food on the table. Those families often face complex barriers, related to hunger, such as transportation, lack of access, job security and costs of nutritious food. She says, the COVID-19 pandemic has only made these realties more difficult.
"So this is a month we really want to talk about going orange for our neighbors, because understand those barriers our families are facing," she said. "We want to raise awareness for this issue. And, we want to educate our community on how this should impact how you volunteer, how you give financially how you vote. These are all really important parts of being a community and supporting our neighbors."
This year marks the ninth consecutive year for the Go Orange campaign. With ongoing COVID-19 safety protocols in place, the organization will host a series of both virtual and socially distanced events and activities that the community can participate in.
"Well, there are really three things that were asking people to do, this month. First, we have been partnering with local restaurants that have been incredibly good to us," said DeVos. "Part of being a good neighbor, we believe, is reciprocity. We're using our platform, this month, to make sure that we're sharing with our neighbors the importance of dining out or taking out. It is time for us to patronize our restaurants."
The non-profit has created a Go Orange page on its website with a full list of participating restaurants.
DeVos says Kids' Food Basket would love support for Go Orange all month, but especially on March 31st, which is Go Orange Day.
"If you can wear orange, take a picture of yourself wearing orange, share a fact or a story on our social media or on our web page, with your community around you, this gives us an opportunity to elevate this conversation and make sure we can all make change together as a community," she said."
Below are other ways Kids' Food Basket is inviting people to participate.
Go Orange Day on March 31
Go Orange Day will be celebrated with drive-thru events at all three Kids’ Food Basket locations. There will be a collection of wish lists items from noon until 5 p.m., and all the collected items will go into KFB's Sack Suppers.
Drop off any of the items below and do not forget to wear orange or add some orange to your car!
• Fruit cups or pouches
• Meat sticks (i.e. Slim Jims)
• Pudding cups
• 8 lb or XL brown lunch bags
Go Orange at Home
Go Orange with your family at home! Engage and educate your loved one’s on what Go Orange means with family activities. Everyone is encourage to share their Go Orange photos and posts using #KFBGoOrange! Wear orange to help the community and raise awareness for childhood hunger.
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