Like a little bit of wind can make a pinwheel whirl…
You breathe life and help thousands of children experience hope each week through a bag of food packed with love and prayers.
As I look back on this past school year and the IMPACT that together we have made in the lives of kids, I am so grateful.
Together we are inspiring hope.
There is something playful, fun, colorful, and mesmerizing about pinwheels blowing in the wind. I can’t help but think about the energy, life, joy, and hope that our simple backpack of weekend food brings into the lives of our 6,356 students who range in age from 3 to 18. I think a pinwheel is the perfect symbol for what we are doing!
One teacher recently shared: “I have a student who tells me all she gets to eat over the weekend is the food in her Hand2Hand bag, and that without it she wouldn’t eat! It is so vital to her that she often writes about it in her daily journal.”
Imagine with me this little girl… what we do brings so much joy, color, and energy into her life that she can’t help but write about Hand2Hand in her daily journal. It impacts and blesses her in a profound way.
Another teacher shares: “One student tells me he cooks for his brothers and sisters over the weekend and that they enjoy figuring out what to cook based on what they get in their Friday Hand2Hand bag. He tells me he babysits during the days on Saturday and Sunday and one of their favorite parts of the day is talking about what they will make for dinner!”
Again, imagine with me… brothers and sisters gathered around the food you have provided and their excitement as they choose what they will have for dinner based on the dinner kits and recipe cards Hand2Hand provided that week.
Imagine with me also the hundreds of prayers offered each week which are also bringing life, color, energy, and hope into the lives of our students, their families, and even the school staff in ways we can’t even imagine.
You play a vital role in inspiring hope in the lives of thousands.
As we share the impact of our work this year through this annual report, I am so very thankful for you. Our donated storehouse is full and we have grown exponentially as we are feeding more children in more schools. God continues to make it evident that He is leading our work every step of the way and our amazing church partners are invaluable.
Our vision is to eliminate local weekend childhood hunger by ensuring every school in West Michigan has a weekend food opportunity for their students. Together and with God’s help we can do it, because the movement of God’s Spirit, like the wind, though unobservable, always accomplishes its intended purpose.
Thank you for your commitment to hungry children in West Michigan.
Founder and Executive Director, Hand2Hand
If you feel called and challenged to assist in this wonderful opportunity to inspire HOPE to hungry kids please do not hesitate to CONTACT US!
We consider it a privilege to partner with everyone who wants to eliminate weekend hunger in kids by volunteering your time, donating funds to help cover costs, and providing nutritious food for the kids.
We look forward to hearing from you.
We count on thousands of volunteers and donors to reach our mission to feed and pray for hungry children over the weekend. We believe there is no greater dream team than YOU! By serving and giving, YOU are making an impact in the lives of 6,356 kids and their families! Thank you!
Joe, a former Hand2Hand student and current Western Michigan University student, spoke at our Hope for Kids dinner and expressed his thanks.
Currently serving the following SCHOOL DISTRICTS...
*Includes Private & Charter
Mason County Central
2008-2019: Growing to feed more kids!
189,600 backpacks of food were sent home during the 2018-2019 school year. This is valued at approximately $948,000!
We have a large vision and believe that together we can eliminate weekend childhood hunger in West Michigan. We celebrate every child we are able to serve but we believe we are called to more. Because a hungry child hurts and every child should have access to nutritional food over the 68 hour weekend gap.
Thank you to Thornapple Kellogg High School and Journey Church for helping to feed hungry kids!
“Hand2Hand helps us build trust with our children and families.“ – Principal
“Hand2Hand has been very positive for my students. It has been a way for our teachers to engage with our students as they have even given demos for the dinner kits Hand2Hand sends home. The Hand2Hand deliverers are kind and always have smiling faces. I personally may not benefit from the food, but I certainly benefit from their friendly demeanor on a Friday morning!“ – Teacher
“Our church has become revitalized as we feed kids in our neighborhood. It has brought a new purpose and life into our church.“ – Pastor
“One of our H2H kids stays for the after school program so she saw that I had just put a bag in her locker. I hid behind the corner so I could hear her and she exclaimed to another student ,‘It’s the mother-lode of goodies!’ She then proceeded to take everything out of her bag and I’ve never seen anyone so excited over a bag of English muffins, pepperoni, and sauce to make a pizza with. And then other kids surrounded her with their bags and it was this cluster of goodness of them talking about their favorite foods and what they were going to make with these English muffins!“ – Hand2Hand Volunteer
“It can be heartbreaking and challenging working with the families in the most need, attempting to carry some of their burdens, and finding ways to empower them. It makes it SO much better knowing that there are people like your team who are praying for us. You’re willing to meet our families where they are at with love, acceptance, and support.“ – Teacher
God continues to go before us and show favor with 26 NEW church partners who made commitments this past school year to deliver food, hope and prayers to students in 30 NEW schools!
“WeAreHand2Hand” continues to show in the growth of Hand2Hand as we work together to make sure that our kids are fed and prayed for each weekend.
The song, “Great is thy Faithfulness” comes to mind as we close out our 10 year anniversary school year. To see what God has done over the last decade makes us excited for what He is preparing for us in this next year and beyond.
Together with God’s leading, we can eliminate weekend food hunger in our West Michigan communities!
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Feeding Kids Together...
Thank you Harbor Churches for once again donating our office space this year. We are truly honored by your faithfulness and your passion to join us to eliminate local childhood weekend hunger!
We had a great day with the Give Em A Brake Safety team! Their generous donation of over $7,000 helped us purchase and pack lunch kits for every one of our students. We are so grateful for their time, money
Thank you to the hundreds of Herman Miller employees for packing 10,000 packs of food for our students during the Polar Vortex.
Thank you Quality Car Wash for your amazingly generous gift and for bringing awareness to weekend hunger through your campaign
(and your car washes can’t
Huge shout out to Sound Off Signal for your generous donation of a storehouse! You made it possible to receive and distribute food to our amazing 111 church partners who are mobilized to feed 6,356 students in 167 schools throughout West Michigan!
The Lakeshore and Grand Rapids Initiatives
Currently Hand2Hand is partnering with Amway, Herman Miller, Gentex, General Mills, and JSJ in strategically growing to feed more kids.
Grants for all of our counties allow us to give seed money to our new church partners which provides them with needed pantry supply items, backpacks, and additional food.
Amway has gifted Hand2Hand with a grant for over three years to reach students in the Kentwood, Godfrey Lee, and Godwin school districts, early childhood through high school.
Last year, Herman Miller helped us reach every school district in Ottawa County and this year they continue to support our effort along the Lakeshore with our concentrated energy focused on Muskegon and Allegan counties. Herman Miller has also gifted Hand2Hand with a grant for additional office furniture this year.
General Mills, Gentex, and JSJ Corporation have generously provided resources to grow into new schools throughout West Michigan.
POLAR VORTEX 2019
During the Polar Vortex 2019, Hand2Hand was able to serve and deliver food to over 300 families! Our amazing Hand2Hand team came together to do what they could to ensure children had food to eat while school was closed and families lacked food in their homes. A thank you from a mom after she was delivered food by one of our volunteer families:
“I am overwhelmed with emotion tonight. I’m beyond grateful and touched. A beautiful family came to our house this cold afternoon and delivered a wealth of fresh food. In the cold, all of them unselfishly went out in the cold for us. We have struggled this past year due to losing everything. It is going slow, but one day we will be on our feet again. Unfortunately we had no food this week due to the food trucks being closed. My kids now just finished dinner, their bellies are full and for the first time in several days they’ll be able to go to bed with a full belly and sleep through the night. Thank you with all of my heart. My family thanks you with all their heart and just know that one day I’ll be in that car delivering food to somebody who is in need. And just like this mom did for us, I will get cookies for a mom to bake with their children. Grateful for you!”
Also, from Godfrey Lee Public Schools:
“Dear Hand2Hand Staff: Thank you for supporting our families during this winter of wild weather! We are so appreciative of your deep commitment and love for our students. It has been such a joy to us to see how your all-volunteer crew carefully packs food for people they have never met – yet care for deeply.
Between the two days of food distribution, with your help and the help of other community partners, we served approximately 320 people. Families who came were so appreciative and your participation in the distributions encouraged our staff too. As one of our staff members said, ‘We have a lot of ’yes we will help’ people in our school community!”
DID YOU KNOW?
People often ask why students are in need of food when the economy is thriving and there are so many available jobs. According to the Alice Report by United Way, 43% of Michigan residents face financial instability and are considered ALICE families (asset limited, income constrained, employed) who simply cannot make ends meet. Many of our families earn more than the federal poverty level but less than the cost of living so they struggle to afford housing, health care, child care, food, and transportation costs.
2018-2019 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS*
Hand2Hand is an organic movement that relies on the financial donations of individuals, businesses, and churches but also relies on volunteer hours and food donations. For every $1 dollar given, an additional $5 is given in volunteer and/or food donations.
Your continued financial donations are needed and appreciated as we expand into more schools!
*As of May 2019