Honroing Our Frontline Heroes: Kid’s Food Basket

Did you know that 1 in 5 Michigan children go hungry every day?

As I continue the series “Honoring Our Frontline Heroes,” the organization I am featuring today holds a special place in my heart as they serve my local community in Michigan. Kids’ Food Basket (KFB) is a non-profit organization that is working to change the above-mentioned statistic by providing nutritious evening meals to kids, and engaging the community through volunteering and education.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many citizens are suffering from unemployment, which causes the crisis of hunger to grow. There are many vulnerable families that are not able to go to the store or get the resources they need, which is why Kids’ Food Basket is critical.

KFB has created an Emergency Response Program. They have divided their volunteers into three teams. On a team’s designated week, they will be the only ones to enter the KFB building to assemble the meals. In this way, they lessen risk and should one of the teams go into quarantine, the other teams will be able to continue assembly and distribution.

According to Bridget Clark Whitney, the President and Founding CEO of Kids’ Food Basket, “What both launches me out of bed in the morning and keeps me awake at night is the unimaginable number of 75,000 local kids experiencing food insecurity who didn’t have what they needed prior to the crisis. While the Shelter in Place policy is a critical step to stop COVID-19, the ramifications to vulnerable populations will be incalculable. There were 75,000 children across our four counties that were qualified for federally subsidized breakfast and lunch, now, with Shelter in Place, healthy food resources, which were already expensive for struggling families, have become that much more difficult to access.”

In just two weeks time, KFB packed and distributed 73,302 healthy meals to over 60 sites across four counties (Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa & Allegan).

Bridget goes on to say, “Over the last two weeks, I’ve felt a constant duality in my personal response to this crisis – it guts me knowing how many of our community members are struggling, and we’re just at the beginning of the impact. At the same time, I’m energized and encouraged by the prospect of deep growth. Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of humanity, and collectively, we are at war with a virus. This war will force us to dig deep, build grit, discover tenacity, and problem solve…when things are at their worst, we have the opportunity to be at our best.”

Thank you to the volunteers of KFB who are on the frontlines continuing to provide meals to children through this worldwide crisis. You are heroes.

Donations can be made on their website (https://www.kidsfoodbasket.org) or text KFB to 56651.

Check out the article by Bridget Clark Whitney called “Food distribution for kids during COVID 19” for more information. (https://www.rapidgrowthmedia.com/features/kids_food_basket_covid19_response.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2JW2fLXw08y_RmIGDBdHzwylABph0PiIfcARbDvHC5DAyy5kOwxDyiGSk)

#CovidCantStopGOOD

~Written by Catie Cordero (A Diverse Global Article)

Giving Tuesday and Making An Impact

Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world…24-hours of giving!

On this day, please consider supporting Family Hope Foundation and our Therapy Scholarship Program. What better gift can be given than Ability? Your donation this Giving Tuesday, in any amount, will be a priceless gift to families in need.

Here is a story one child we were able to help…

Like a little baby bird—skinny and cute—Aidan Wood said hello to the world. The only thing large on his tiny frame was his head, but since big brother had a good-sized noggin, no one was the wiser. It wasn’t until much later that the Wood’s discovered that Aidan’s head circumference at birth was in the hundredth percentile…for three year olds.

The baby years progressed with joyous bliss. Aidan slept great and rarely cried. He didn’t need to be held constantly, in fact, he preferred his swing. This too was an early indicator of things to come. Nearing nine months of age, the babyhood simplicity began to fade.

Delayed milestones weren’t near the forefront of the Wood’s minds until bronchitis became Aidan’s frequent, unwanted friend. An allergist surmised that he was likely aspirating on his formula, causing the respiratory distress. At the same time, she asked if his head size and disjunctive gaze had ever been discussed. Those questions led to CT scans, swallow studies, feeding therapy, thickened liquids, patching eyes, and then two eye surgeries. The Wood’s now knew they were in the elite club of being special needs parents.

Early-on services and Ken-O-Sha schooling helped Aidan move forward in his learning and development. While this season of schooling had it’s huge victories, it also came with its harsh challenges. Aidan’s behavior became more reactive and aggressive. His ability to control his bowel movements (Encopresis) caused bad episodes of soiling in his diapers. On top of that, he was still non-verbal, so he couldn’t communicate his needs.

Around age five, the Woods decided to try a different facility for Aidan’s PT and speech therapy. This is when they met their miracle worker René Manker at BRAINS. She used some of her Feldenkreis training with him in physical therapy, and his coordination and balance improved; and so did his toileting skills. However, when René left, they were worried. What would they do without her?

The following years brought more tests and evaluations. The diagnoses added up—Dysphagia and Reflux, malformation of cortical development, Strabismus (which led to the eye surgeries), Hypotonia/Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy (low or diminished muscle tone), Dysarthria (delayed or poor motor planning in the speech and articulation process), chronic constipation and Encopresis, Mood Regulation Disorder, and then at age seven came a new diagnosis—Sensory Processing Disorder, which was considered the culprit for Aidan’s up and down behaviors. Thankfully with help of occupational therapy, Aidan had more tools and coping skills.

By age ten, Aidan’s therapy services were being limited by insurance. The Woods were no longer seeing increasing results with therapies. Aidan’s behavior was growing more volatile at school and at home. Remembering how much progress they saw with René, Aidan’s mother, Amy, decided to try Google. And yes, Google proved helpful. Amy discovered Senses In Motion, a company in which René owned! Unfortunately, she noted that insurance wasn’t accepted there. She knew they couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket.

At this time, Amy had been volunteering for Family Hope Foundation for a couple of years at the Celebration Cinema sensory show times. She hadn’t applied for a scholarship before, but figured it was time to try. The Woods were thrilled when Aidan was awarded funds for ABM (Anat Baniel Method of Neuromovement) therapy with René. This form of therapy has been pivotal in helping Aidan with Dyspraxia. Aidan’s brain struggles to organize the information needed for his body to carry out even simple tasks. With his brain struggling to appropriate information, he finds himself oftentimes frustrated, triggering emotionally reactive behavior. But with ABM therapy, he is making strides in both conceptual and sensory processing and behavioral responses.

After one full year of ABM, Aidan has fewer meltdowns, aggressive behaviors are on the decline, his processing speed is growing, and he is able to learn easier. But most importantly, his silly personality is returning.

Through all the trials, hardships, and diagnoses, Aidan has pressed on. It hasn’t been easy for him or his family, but they have all chosen to see the glass full and not empty. They count their blessings, not misfortunes. If the Woods could be summed up in a word it would be—optimistic. It is because of this that Aidan is blooming, and his hilarious nature is shining once more.

 

Aidan is one of the amazing kids we have been able to support. Join with us in giving the Gift of Ability to more children.

http://bit.ly/GivingTuesdayFHF

 

Our Contact Information

Family Hope Foundation

7086 8th Avenue
Jenison, MI, 49428

616-729-8833

www.familyhopefoundation.org