Last night as we gathered for our annual Hope for Kids Dinner I was reminded again of how many caring and compassionate people live in West Michigan. Our thoughtful and generous sponsors and table hosts ensured we would fill the room to capacity and there was excitement in the air as Steve Maas, the mayor of Grandville, provided beautiful piano music as people arrived.
As the kids choir opened the evening with the song, "I'm Not Giving Up On You" by Andy Grammer, the words served as another strong affirmation to me that we will not give up on reaching every child who may experience weekend hunger in West Michigan. Every child has been fearfully and wonderfully made. Every child has gifts and abilities that they haven't even begin to discover yet, and that they may never discover, if they continue to lack weekend nourishment.
I was so honored to share the story of Erica from Riverside Middle School. We often hear from teachers or counselors asking us to partner with them to feed kids but Erica's email was so raw. I'm so thankful for the thousands of teachers throughout West Michigan who silently give resources and care for their students in so many ways! My hope is that we can surround every school community with the support of weekend food for their kids.
Being able to introduce everyone to Dustin, a former Hand2Hand student, was another highlight for me! Dustin's testimony about receiving Hand2Hand and how he now personally gives back by volunteering for Hand2Hand was inspiring. Dustin represents so many of our Hand2Hand kids who simply need us to come alongside and offer a hand up so they have a greater chance to excel in life through their gifts and abilities. We were all able to catch a small glimpse of Dustin's gifts and abilities as he spoke in front of 500 people. I truly can't wait to see what else God has in store for him. A special thank you to his church, Hager Park Reformed, for joining us as a church partner years ago and for loving like Jesus. The Hand2Hand model works because of our 120 church partners who shine His light and love throughout West Michigan each weekend.
Generosity and kindness abounded as people generously gave financially last night. Currently $144,652 has been given to reach our goal to feed and pray for up to 8500 kids in 211 schools by the end of this school year!
A special thank you to ALL of our sponsors who were listed in our program and for all who personally gave last night as well.
Overall it was such an incredible evening and I'm so thankful for the staff of Hand2Hand as we once again poured our hearts and efforts into feeding more kids by hosting our dinner.
My prayer is that everyone who attended was inspired by hope as they left the evening.
Together we will reach every child in West Michigan who experiences hunger each weekend.
Together we will feed and pray for kids, ages 3-18, in hopes that they will know they are loved by not only our community but by our amazing God Himself.
Together we are Inspiring Hope.