Birthdays & Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Bernie J. Wade
March 3
Midge J. Verplank
March 3
Megan C. Doss
March 6
Jen Crouse
March 8
Cara Galbavi
March 13
Mac MacLachlan
March 15
Steve Matthies
March 17
Kevin Green
March 18
Claire A. Sheridan
March 25
Ernie Petrus
March 28
Claire A. Sheridan
March 21
Tracy Straight
March 23
Join Date
Rich Jones
March 1, 1981
37 years
Michelle Dixon
March 6, 2015
3 years
Ernie Petrus
March 8, 2013
5 years
James Bos
March 9, 2012
6 years
George M. Gardner
March 15, 1991
27 years
Morgan Rescorla
March 17, 2017
1 year
Brian Humphrey
March 18, 2016
2 years
Gordon Gallagher
March 18, 2016
2 years
Stefanie Herder
March 18, 2016
2 years
Julie Grevengoed
March 24, 2017
1 year
Chris Burns
March 25, 2013
5 years
Michelle Hanks
March 29, 2017
1 year
Russell Hampton
National Awards Services Inc.
Last Weeks Scribe Report
Spring Lake Rotary Scribes Report:  Friday, February 23, 2018
Kids’ Food Basket
                Kids’ Food Basket is a local West Michigan non-profit that aims to empower communities to attack childhood hunger through packaged meals distributed directly to children in need at our schools.  Executive Director of the program, Bridget Clark Whitney, joined us to educate our club about what they do in our local schools, who they help, and how we can get involved. 
                Bridget started out as an unpaid intern when the program was launched back in the Fall of 2002.  The program was started in Grand Rapids with seed money of $3,000 which was used to buy fresh, healthy, perishable food items that could be packed into brown bags and given to children in need at the end of the school day to take home with them as “sack suppers”.  The meals consist of a protein item, a healthy snack, a piece of fruit or a vegetable, and a drink.  The impact on the children served through Kids’ Food Basket was immediate and extremely positive.  School leaders and published studies reported that there was a noticeable drop in behavioral issues, health issues (sickness), and that there was an increase in test scores and academic achievement at those schools.  This has continued through the years.  For example, a school that began distributing food through Kids’ Food Basket in 2015 saw a 21% increase in test scores in the one-year span following the roll out of the program.  The organization has grown from one office in Grand Rapids that serves Kent County schools, to three offices, including locations in Muskegon, and Holland.
                In Kent County, there are 28,700 food insecure children.  In Ottawa County, there are 11,400 children that are food insecure, and in Muskegon County, there are 9,600 children.  Most or all live at or below the poverty line. At least 75% of the children served have at least one working parent.  This points to the fact that there is significant underemployment in West Michigan, as in other parts of the country.   In Muskegon alone, about 60% of children qualify for free or reduced lunch. 
                Kids’ Food Basket currently serves 40 schools across the three aforementioned counties.  In Kent County right now, Kids’ Food Basket is serving over 6,100 children sack suppers every weekday.  In Muskegon they are serving 1,100 children, and in Holland they serve over 800 children.  There is a large waiting list for schools wishing to get on the program.  With all the schools and children that are being helped currently, that only covers 19% of the need overall in those three counties.  In Muskegon there are 11 schools on the waiting list, in Kent County there are 16 schools on the waiting list and in Holland there are three schools waiting to be added.  The cost to feed a child a sack supper each day is $1 per day, and the average cost of adding a school to the program for coverage is about $30,000 per year.  To date, about 99% of the funding for the program is charitable, 1% is government funded. 
                 Kids’ Food Basket needs two things to continue to expand their services to more hungry children across West Michigan: 1) More funding; and 2) More space to operate.  The Feeding Our Future campaign that is now underway aims to address both needs with one solution.  Kids’ Food Basket recently secured the purchase of a 14-acre farm that they will be the site of the organization’s new headquarters near Plymouth Avenue and Leonard Street Northeast.  Approximately 2/3rd of the acreage will be dedicated to sustainable farming, intended to both educate children on the process of growing and maintaining crops, as well as using that produce to feed children through the sack supper meal program.  The remaining 1/3rd of the property will host the Kids’ Food Basket warehouse, as well as office and volunteer engagement spaces.   It currently takes 250 volunteers per day on average to serve the schools across Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon Counties.  The capacity of Kids’ Food Basket to serve more children through the Kent County location is capped, and they have run out of space for the volunteers to do their work each day.  This new facility will allow for up to 15,000 daily nourishing meals to be packaged and served throughout Kent County, more than doubling the current capacity over time.  The campaign is seeking $6M in funding in order to complete the Kent County headquarters, of which, the main costs will be spread over building construction, land and site development, and program expansion. 
                If you’d like to contribute to the campaign, or would like to learn more about how to get involved with the Kids’ Food Basket program in general, please visit: or contact the main offices at (616) 235-4532.
50/50 Winner: Lisa Ashcraft