Kid’s Food Basket


Taylor Nieboer

“A student in a kindergarten class was coloring Superman onto one of the brown paper bags we use. When I asked him if Superman was his favorite superhero he looked up at me and told me it wasn’t Superman, but it was me and I was his favorite superhero,” Kids Helping Kids Program Coordinator Troy Vos said. One of the many kids who gets sack suppers told a volunteer on the Kid’s Food Basket team that they kept every single sack supper they received and hung them up on their walls. Some students here at West Ottawa and students from many other area schools volunteer their time to help either make the sack suppers or decorate bags at KFB.
KFB is a nonprofit organization, so in order to help these kids out, they receive donations from local schools, churches, and companies to try and help these kids not go home hungry. People right here in our community also donate their time to help pack the sack suppers and even decorate the bags that the food goes in so the child can have fun visuals to look at and be proud of.
KFB was created when teacher Mary K. Hoodhood found one of her students digging in the garbage after school trying to find food to bring home to eat for supper. When Hoodhood saw this happening, she knew she needed to take action and help kids who are going home hungry; she created KFB with some help from other people in her community. KFB and the people who volunteer are very selfless, more concerned with the lives of these kids and trying to help out their community for a greater good. At KFB, volunteering is not about getting service hours or getting recognized, instead, volunteers find joy in giving back to a community that gives its residents so much.

When arriving at KFB, one is immediately welcomed at the door by one of the organizers or another volunteer. Typically depending on what assignment one would meet in a room to break down and separate fruit snacks, pudding cups, crackers, etc. In the kitchen is where one would make sandwiches, put snow peas and crackers in bags, and more. The atmosphere is always very upbeat with small talk and music playing in the background. Decorating the bags is an easy task. KFB organizers would recommend drawing on the bags with crayons so the ink doesn’t seep through. As for what to decorate or what is being drawn is completely up to the individual and their imagination. KFB is a very calm and easy place to help out in one’s community and to volunteer one’s time to help a good cause.
Vos made the decision to be part of the team at KFB because of “the immediate impact the work we do everyday has on the children of our community. It can be as simple as decorating a bag to brighten a kids day or making a Sack Supper that directly nourishes a child that same day.” KFB makes giving back to the people in local communities an easy and fun task. “Our main goal that drives all of us here at KFB is to be able to take all the schools on our immediate waiting list off it. These are schools with children who need our services.” Vos has experienced many great memories at KFB both with his coworkers and the kids he is helping serve. “ I brag every day to my coworkers, friends, and family that I have the coolest job because I get to work with all of our youth age groups,” Vos said. KFB is always excited to get new helpers and people to add on to the service that KFB is trying to provide to these kids. “Even though one in five children in Michigan suffer from hunger; five out of five of us have the power to help end that,” Vos said.
“Kids Food Basket has a really good end goal of ending childhood hunger. I really enjoyed how organized the program was, it [KFB] made everything really easy to understand. My tech center class [Teacher Academy] last year went and volunteered. I chose to continue because I liked knowing I was doing something to help kids. I volunteered another time with my best friend and we made it so much fun with music and singing really loudly, it did not even feel like work! I feel like that is a good enough reason in itself; knowing you’re helping end such a big problem is an incredible feeling. It is a really good family atmosphere at KFB and I am lucky to be a part of it,” Coopersville Sr. Allyson Levoy said.
American author Dillon Burroughs said, “God repeatedly uses the least-likely and least-prepared individuals (ourselves included) to make the deepest impact on our world.” At KFB, there is no difference if one is least-likely or least-prepared – every one one of us is able to make the slightest effort to make a deep impact. To volunteer, go to the KFBs website and sign up for a time slot.