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Kids Food Basket founder shares story of hope in new memoir

Mary K. Hoodhood woke up from a coma at age 27, paralyzed after an accident. She went on to improve her community by creating Kids Food Basket.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A West Michigan nonprofit founder is sharing her story in a new memoir, which was released this month.

Mary K. Hoodhood, the founder of Kids Food Basket, woke up from a coma at the age of 27 after a car accident. She was told she would be paralyzed for life. That sudden transformation solidified her drive to make the world a better place.

She went on to address hunger in the community with $3,000 and a few volunteers to help. They began by distributing what they call Sack Suppers to 125 children in Kent County. Kids Food Basket has since grown, now supporting 10,000 children locally and 1.6 million nationwide.

In the memoir, called "What I Can Do," Hoodhood tells the story of founding Kids Food Basket and the struggles she's faced.

"She said you need to write your story, because it's a story of hope," Hoodhood said. "If one person reads the book and says, 'If she can do what she's done, then I can do something too,' I've succeeded."

Before founding Kids Food Basket, Hoodhood served her community by volunteering at God's Kitchen and working for Disability Advocates.

Co-author Lisa McNeilley said Hoodhood's story is moving.

"When (Hoodhood)...hears about this child who was digging through the garbage to find food to take home at night, and resolves that this can't happen in my community, is such a meaningful moment," McNeilley said.

Hoodhood and McNeilley will talk about "What I Can Do" at an event on Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Kids Food Basket. You can order the memoir by clicking here. Proceeds from the book will support Kids Food Basket.

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