By Cheri Honderd
Recently, I shared with a friend how Hand2Hand has grown into 249 schools. She asked, “Cheri, what do you see with Hand2Hand?” It reminded me of one of my favorite books that I read to my grandkids, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see?”
- Hungry children that God loves and wants us to display His love to
- Churches rising in faith to go into their local schools to feed and pray for students and bless the school staff
- Individuals and businesses joining together to ensure no child in their neighborhood is hungry over the weekend
- God lifted and known because He is the reason for our ministry. As our founding verses state, The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. -Psalm 145:15-16
- The miracle of God multiplying food and using His disciples to pray over it and distribute it, as Jesus did long ago
Our vision to eliminate hunger for kids
The Hand2Hand vision is that every school in West Michigan, early childhood through high school, will have a weekend food opportunity. Our growth plan for this is strategic, yet open to God’s leading. His work through Hand2Hand has been transformative both for the students and everyone involved. We prayerfully discern all new requests for a Hand2Hand program at a school when we know kids are hungry and that a church is willing to partner with us to love, feed, and pray for them.
For students who experience hunger, the 68-hour weekend is a long and vulnerable time with little food. This affects their ability to learn and reach their full potential. It also harms children mentally as they fear hunger…every…single…weekend. On Fridays, their anxiety rises as they think about what it will feel like to be hungry for 68 hours. We have a simple and sustainable model to eliminate hunger and ensure kids have food placed directly into their hands.
What does this vision mean?
- When every school in Ottawa, Kent, Muskegon, and Allegan Counties has a weekend food opportunity (and it doesn’t have to be Hand2Hand) we will reach our vision for the West Michigan community. The good news is we are over halfway to achieving this vision!
- We are in four additional counties outside of the four mentioned above, and kids in these counties matter also. No child should be hungry on the weekend, and we will continue to grow there as churches and communities join us to feed and pray for their local kids.
- As opportunities arise in other states or different regions in Michigan, we prayerfully discern if God is asking us to go there. If He desires local churches in other areas to unite to do this work, we may expand. To date, we have only shared with outside areas how to operate a weekend food ministry. We may expand our reach at some point, but it would require financial and volunteer support from that region.
Ultimately, our vision is for our students and the community to recognize God through the work of His people. I am grateful for a Board of Directors and a staff who prayerfully discern and are willing to go wherever He calls.
I am so grateful for the entire Hand2Hand team of volunteers in every county. They faithfully join us to make our vision to eliminate hunger for students come to life…every…single…weekend. God is seen through YOU and all of us working together to display His love, compassion, kindness, and mercy.
If I asked Brown Bear about Hand2Hand, it might go something like this, “Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? I see Jesus shining through you”.