As I review The Win-Win for West Michigan, thanks to YOU and many others, I am amazed at the impact we have made together in such a short time. We needed to react to the difficulty of getting non perishable food into the hands of our Hand2Hand families, due to food shortages. The generous gifts of financial support from our donors launched us into success, and blessed restaurant owners and our Hand2Hand students and their families who were in need of food!
I remember being concerned with our inability to purchase large quantities of food for our families when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. I was praying and asking God for direction and the Win Win idea came to me. The Hand2Hand staff came around this idea and brought life to it.
I am happy to share that we were able to more than match our initial $30,000 grant donation we received from the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation and The David and Carol VanAndel Family Foundation. As people caught the vision and excitement of how we could help our restaurants as well as feed our families, we raised just over an additional $40,000 for a total of $70,000 within a very short time.
The Win Win has also been an opportunity for Christ followers to come alongside our restaurants and build relationships and encourage them. We have one volunteer who made it her mission to buy a meal from every single one of our restaurants and to send them all thank-you cards for partnering with Hand2Hand. She is a single retired woman, and this brought her much joy and purpose during an uncertain and isolated time for her. It also brought joy to our church partners as they saw and heard reactions from our families upon receiving the gift cards. They were stunned and excited, and many had tears of joy well into their eyes. In some cases, our delivery method of Hand2Hand food and gift cards changed from bringing the food to our schools to delivering the food and Win Win gift cards directly to our families front doors. As a result, relationships are being formed in a beautiful way. The gift cards were one more step in building a trusting relationship with their partnering Church, as they were so surprised and excited to receive them.
We purchased 4,100 gift cards from 30 local restaurants and distributed them to our Hand2Hand families with kids who range in age from early childhood through high school, in 17 of our school districts in West Michigan. What a treat for them to enjoy a warm cooked prepared meal over the weekend. Everyone, including Hand2Hand families, needed a break and an occasional treat during this time of quarantine and isolation.
One of our families who received a pizza gift card shared,
“This was the best pizza I’ve had in a long time. My son, Ahjani, is on the autism spectrum and he loves pizza. We haven’t been able to eat out as we are trying to save money. When we got the gift card it was such a blessing for us. Ahjani says ‘super duper yummy!’ Thank you Hand2Hand for making our dinner tonight super great.”
Your generous grant brought Ahjani and his family joy, hope, love, and food!
You also helped bring stability and income to our partnering 30 restaurants, and they were blessed to be a blessing to people in need as well. It was encouraging and inspiring for them personally, as they joined the Hand2Hand mission.
I am thrilled to share what we have accomplished together.
We are honored to link arms with you and would love to continue our partnership with you in some capacity in the future. We make a great team!
Because a hungry child hurts…
Hand2Hand Founder and Executive Director
Partnering 17 School Districts
Holland, West Ottawa, Black River, Zeeland, Hamilton, Hudsonville, Jenison, Grandville, Wyoming, Byron Center, Kentwood, Godwin Heights, Comstock Park, Rockford, Sparta, Wayland, Thornapple Kellogg
Mineos, Byron Family Restaurant, Florentines, Rainbow Grill (2 locations), Wooden Shoe, Crust 54 (2 locations), Crazy Horse, Russ’ (4 locations), Vitales (2 locations), Jets, Lombardo’s (2 locations), The Win, Flo’s, JoJo’s, The Hawks Nest, Candied Yam, Uccellos, Chick-fil-a, The Farmhouse, Salvinos, Faro’s Pizza, Sparta Lanes, Arenas Pizza.
Click and hear Restaurant Owner Testimonials:
“I just wanted to extend a huge THANK YOU!!! For the food donations throughout the school yeah, and for these latest gift cards to local restaurants. Restaurants are not something we ever splurge on even in normal times, but to be gifted that in these uncertain and upsetting times means so much! Last week we had some goodies from the Wooden Shoe, which I know was the highlight of my 5 year olds week! This week we are so excited to get pizza from crust 54, which we’ve never been to. Thank you for the support and we are more grateful than you could ever know!”
“Thank you for the gift card. Our family of 7 was able to enjoy some pasta and salad. We really appreciate your generosity during this time. It has been especially helpful as our income was reduced to zero for 6 weeks as a result of COVID19 and an unemployment payment issue. We are incredibly thankful for all the food you have provided our family this school year! Thanks again”
“I just wanted to thank our local restaurants and Hand2Hand for helping our family and other families in need during this time of uncertainty. I was laid off from my job due to my business closing because of the Coronavirus. I did apply for unemployment (which is way less pay). With unemployment income, I only have $200 left after paying my rent payment to pay utilities, food and essentials like laundry soap and toilet paper. It has been quite a bit of stress worrying about making sure I can keep the utilities on for myself and my 4 kids. Times are scary and I know we will get through this. I just want to thank you all for helping provide food and support so it is one less thing to have to worry about. You guys are amazing! I pray for your safety and thank God for people like you and your willingness and kindness to help others. God Bless.”