Gentex makes commitment to fight childhood hunger

Gentex Corp. has made a five-year, $300,000-commitment to feeding hungry children in West Michigan.

The Zeeland business will donate $60,000 annually for the next five years to Kids’ Food Basket, a nonprofit that develops community-based solutions to combat childhood hunger throughout West Michigan.

“We’re so thankful to Gentex for its generous donation, because it allows us to nourish more children in Ottawa and Allegan counties with good, nutritious food, especially during this critical time,” says Kids’ Food Basket President and Founding CEO Bridget Clark Whitney. “Gentex engineers even helped us streamline meal preparation by building custom tables for our new production space.”

Expansion 

Grand Rapids-based Kids’ Food Basket opened a new location in Holland last month to help expand services in Ottawa and Allegan counties.

A majority of Gentex’s donation will be put toward the organization’s Feeding our Future campaign to fund programs and building expansion in the two counties.

“Their generous gift has been critical towards reaching the funding goal of our $2.5 million Feeding Our Future expansion campaign,” says Ashley Diersch, senior director of development for Kids’ Food Basket. “It is through community partners such as Gentex that we have the ability to increase our efforts to nourish and serve more children in Ottawa and Allegan counties.”

The Feeding Our Future campaign will cover costs of a newly renovated and expanded building, the growth of volunteer opportunities, and the service of our Sack Supper program, which will provide more healthy, nutritious meals to children in Allegan and Ottawa counties. 

In the future, Kids’ Food Basket hopes to expand its Grow initiative, which could include the purchase of farmland to grow vegetables for its programs.

Matching grant

Gentex has given an additional $100,000 matching gift now through the end of the year to encourage others to donate to the Kids’ Food Basket Feeding Our Future campaign.

“Children need good nutrition to be healthy, succeed academically, and reach their full potential,” says Steve Downing, Gentex president and CEO. “This means Kids’ Food Basket provides more than meals. They provide integral community resources that help break the cycle of poverty and build a stronger community. We’re excited to support them as they enable West Michigan to better tackle childhood hunger.”

Emergency meals

Since March 2020, when schools closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, Kids’ Food Basket has provided more than 500,000 healthy emergency meals to 70 distribution sites throughout its four-county service area (Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa and Allegan counties).

The emergency meals are distributed to organizations, schools, and churches located in densely populated areas serving low-income families or individuals identified as high need.

Related story: secondwavemedia.com/lakeshore/features/workingfarm.aspx
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