Northville and Detroit students join forces to feed the hungry here and around the world
School children from suburban Northville and inner-city Detroit are joining forces to learn more about world hunger and, most importantly, do something about it through the Kids Against Hunger Michigan Coalition “Michigan Project” and the Gleaners Community Food Bank Kids Helping Kids initiative.
The eight food packing events, which got underway in late-January and will continue through March, bring together elementary students from different experiences and cultures to work and learn side-by-side at Detroit area landmarks including the Arab American National Museum in Dearborn and Gleaners in Detroit, as well as the Jack Doheny Supplies warehouse in Northville.
Kids Against Hunger is an international, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to providing food to malnourished and starving children throughout the world, including right here in metro Detroit. The organization partners with local schools, churches and other community groups to organize food packing events where more than 20,000 meals can be assembled in a three-hour period. Through the Kids Against Hunger “Michigan Project,” which specially tailors food-packing events to the school setting, Michigan school children have assembled more than three million meals. Since 2005, more than 5,500 Northville and Detroit students have worked together to pack over 750,000 meals.
In addition, students from two of Northville’s larger elementary schools — Amerman and Ridge Wood — and their Detroit area partners will also take part in the Gleaners Kids Helping Kids initiative to ensure active participation by as many students as possible. Kids Helping Kids invites students to Gleaners for a tour of the food bank, an educational session, and a hands-on volunteer opportunity that benefits others in the community.
“We believe very strongly that Kids Against Hunger and Kids Helping Kids are an integral part of what makes our schools and our community strong,” said Northville Superintendent Mary Kay Gallagher. “Just as we value exemplary academics, athletics, the arts and extra-curricular opportunities — the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with students from inner-city communities in service to others empowers our students, strengthens relationships, builds awareness of our global society, and offers an incredible service experience for those students, teachers and community members who participate.”
This marks the eighth year Northville and Detroit students are coming together to pack food for Kids Against Hunger, as part of a partnership with local non-profit organizations such as Bridgepointe, the Plymouth Kiwanis, the Conrad Charitable Foundation, Mothers’ Club of Northville, and other local school and community groups.
Northville Public Schools is also pleased this year to welcome several area businesses as sponsors of the Kids Against Hunger and Kids Helping Kids events providing more than $7,000 to purchase the food and packing materials, cover shipping costs and/or provide transportation to the packing events. These sponsors include:
- Gold Sponsor — Patti Mullen & Associates, Remerica Hometown One
- Silver Sponsors — Grand Rapids Building Supply, Inc., and Durham Transportation Services
- Bronze Sponsors — Clark Hill PLC; Tom Holzer Ford, Inc.; Stifel Nicolaus & Company, Inc.; and Wright & Hunter, Inc.
“We deeply appreciate the amazing support by these sponsors that will enable us to provide elementary students from across the district with real-life lessons about world hunger, similarities and differences among children, and the satisfaction that comes from giving to others,” Gallagher said. “While our students and schools are encouraged to help raise funds and contribute in meaningful ways to these food-packing events, the reality is that the cost of packing and shipping the food far exceeds the fundraising ability of children, and so these incredible experiences for our students would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors.”
During the Kids Against Hunger food packing events, students work together on an assembly line to measure, weigh and seal 13.8-ounce bags of nutritious rice-soy casserole mix that can each feed six adults or 12 children. One-third of the food from each packing event goes to local food banks to help those in need in the community, one third goes to feed the starving in Third World countries, and one third goes to help those in the U.S. and worldwide struck by natural disaster.
“Through experiences like Kids Against Hunger, students are empowered to make a difference in their communities and the world,” said Bridgepointe Co-Founder and Kids Against Hunger “Michigan Project” Coordinator Sue Simcox. “Over the years, staff and students from these suburban and inner-city schools form friendships of sharing and learning as pen pals, through Kids Against Hunger, and by visiting each other’s schools. They discover that although their experiences and cultures may be different, they still have a lot in common.”
A key partner in the Kids Against Hunger events, Bridgepointe was founded in 1998 by Simcox and fellow Northville parent Diane Powers with the goal of bringing together school children from different backgrounds to learn and work together.
Amerman Elementary School Principal Dr. Stephen Anderson believes the Kids Against Hunger and Kids Helping Kids experiences are ones that will impact and influence students’ lives for years to come. On January 22, Amerman fifth graders joined forces with students from Roberto Clemente Elementary School in Detroit at Gleaners to pack food for Kids Against Hunger. Another team of Amerman and Roberto Clemente students will return to Gleaners on February 27 to participate in Kids Helping Kids.
“Through the Kids Against Hunger and Kids Helping Kids experience, students learn that hunger is a world problem and that we have a responsibility to contribute to its solution,” Dr. Anderson said. “Our students also get the chance to spend the day with their Roberto Clemente friends and build relationships through working together for a common cause and experiencing the joy of hands-on giving — lessons we believe will influence a lifetime of thinking and behavior by these young people.”
For more information about the Kids Against Hunger Michigan Coalition visit www.kidsagainsthungercoalition.com or www.bridgepointenonprofit.org. To learn more about Gleaners and its Kids Helping Kids program visit www.gcfb.org.