Kids’ Food Basket hosting bag decorating fundraiser

Kids’ Food Basket said it is hosting a community challenge to collect 100,000 decorated bags in honor of Brown Bag Decorating Day on Oct. 23. Courtesy Kids' Food Basket

A childhood hunger nonprofit is setting a goal to collect 100,000 decorated bags during October for its Sack Supper program, and a local bank plans to contribute a matching donation.

Grand Rapids-based Kids’ Food Basket said it is hosting a community challenge to collect 100,000 decorated bags in honor of Brown Bag Decorating Day on Oct. 23. The community is encouraged to decorate paper bags and donate them to be used for the Sack Supper program, which nourishes children and families in Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa and Allegan counties.

Detroit-based TCF Bank — which has a large West Michigan presence — will donate 10 cents for every bag decorated up to a $10,000 match until the deadline.

“One of TCF Bank’s guiding beliefs is to care like a neighbor and partnering with Kids’ Food Basket helps us do just that,” said Krista Flynn, TCF Bank regional president of West Michigan. “The service they provide to the community is so critical, especially during this pandemic. We are proud to support the bag decorating efforts and encourage everyone to participate and help us meet our 100,000-bag goal.”

Bag donations will be collected all month leading up to a Brown Bag Decorating Day drive-thru party from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 23 at any of the three Kids’ Food Basket locations. Community members can drop off their bags and celebrate with the nonprofit from inside their vehicles.

Those who cannot make it to the event still can drop off bags at any Kids’ Food Basket locations from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Decorated bags also will be accepted at any of the 24 TCF Bank branch locations throughout West Michigan during regular business hours between now and Oct. 23. Mailing decorated bags to Kids’ Food Basket — 1300 Plymouth Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505 — also is encouraged for socially distanced participation.

“We are so grateful to TCF Bank for their support and partnership to ensure children have access to the healthy food they need to thrive,” said Bridget Clark Whitney, KFB president and CEO. “Decorating bags is a way to add a touch of love to every Sack Supper that goes to nourishing a child or family who is struggling with food insecurity. Healthy food is medicine, and that is needed now more than ever.”

Before COVID-19, Kids’ Food Basket served over 8,800 kids at 52 schools where 70% or more of the student population receive free or reduced-cost meals in Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa and Allegan counties. The COVID-19 crisis escalated the need, Clark Whitney said.

Since the school closures in March, Kids’ Food Basket has served over 458,000 emergency meals to 70 distribution sites. The meals were distributed to organizations, schools and churches in densely populated areas serving low-income families or individuals identified as high need.

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