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10,000 Meals Each School Day Represents 12% of the West Michigan Need

Kids’ Food Basket knows that all children deserve good, nourishing food. This started with our Sack Supper program, which delivers healthy evening meals to children every week day. Currently, KFB supplies Sack Suppers for 10,000 children across 60 schools, the most that we have ever served. 

Consistent nutrition is key to success in school and life, and at KFB, it is a promise. Over our 20-year history, KFB is proud to say that we have never had to remove a school from service. This is done by scaling mindfully and sustainably, so that children on our service list can count on us for quality nutrition each week day.  

Schools that receive Sack Suppers have one thing in common: most of their students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch through the Children Nutrition Program (1). This program is available based on the income and number of people in a household. In a family of four, the children would qualify for reduced price meals if the household income was less than $51,000, or they would be eligible for free meals if the annual household income is under $36,000. 

Families in this situation are often classified by the United Way as ALICE (2) families, or “asset-limited, income-constrained and employed.” These families are working and are living above the poverty line, which is $28,000 for a family of four (3), but still have trouble making ends meet. Often, quality nutrition can feel like a luxury families cannot afford, especially as the cost of groceries has risen over 10% in the last year (4). 

Between Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa and Allegan Counties, about 83,000 children qualify for free or reduced-price lunch (5). This is likely an underestimate, due to the fact that some schools, like charter and early elementary schools, do not report this number. 

This means that even with our increased service numbers, we are only meeting about 12% of the need for our neighbors in just four West Michigan counties. In our lakeshore communities, this percentage is even lower, as we have expanded into these areas most recently. 

Students by West Michigan counties that qualify for free or reduced lunch compared to students receiving Sack Suppers.
Kids’ Food Basket 2022, Source: EconDis Counts Data Files (

In consultation with our neighbors through Community Listening Sessions and in alignment with the United Nations World Food Programme (6) to end hunger, we have expanded our operations to develop a two-pronged approach to close this gap. We work to meet the immediate need by sustainably increasing the number of Sack Suppers we can serve each day while also addressing barriers to food security through education, advocacy and community farming. These two approaches come together with a goal to increase food security overall in West Michigan.  

To get there, we need your help. We cannot do what we do today without the support of our community, and the only way we will move toward a hunger-free West Michigan is by getting there together.  

Action today means nutrition tomorrow. There are lots of ways to get involved in ensuring that children have access to healthy food. Consider KFB for your year-end giving, or become a monthly donor. Gather your community and host a Wish List drive, or sign up to volunteer at one of our three regional locations. Together, we are making a difference. Together, we are working toward good food, good health and a good future. For us all.  


  1. Child Nutrition Programs Income Eligibility Guidelines (2022-2023) | Food and Nutrition Service ( 
  2. ALICE Report — Michigan Association of United Ways ( 
  3. Poverty Guidelines | ASPE ( 
  4. USDA ERS – Food Price Outlook 
  5. Poverty Guidelines | ASPE ( 
  6. UN World Food Programme (WFP)