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March: The Month of Orange

The color orange in the month of March symbolizes child hunger awareness. Kids Food Basket (KFB), an organization that strives to end childhood food insecurity in the West Michigan area, challenges our community to participate in achieving this goal. The definition of hunger is a chronic absence of nutritious food in one’s diet. Hunger results from various factors: food deserts, financial instability, or inequity. Food deserts are urban areas with many obstacles to purchasing fresh, affordable, healthy foods. The metropolitan area of Muskegon and Ottawa County, among other counties in Michigan, are categorized as food deserts. Many people face malnutrition due to the high prices of fresh produce and low incomes. This drives families to buy cheaper, unhealthier foods with a long shelf life that do not contain the vitamins necessary for development. Inequity is the difficulty faced by individuals due to inadequate access to opportunity.  Kids Food Basket believes, “Food is not a privilege but a right.” It aims to provide all individuals with the opportunity to learn about the importance of healthy food and how to cultivate these plentiful foods through urban agriculture. Kids Food Basket regularly invites children to their farm located on Plymouth Avenue to experience picking local-grown produce from the soil. Kid Food Basket has a sustainable 10-acre farm that perenially grows vegetables and fruits, including red peppers, green peppers, carrots, apples, strawberries, etc.

The importance of picking food off the branch or out of the ground is a higher content of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are compounds that create the vivid colors, aromas, and distinct tastes of foods. In addition to making vegetables and fruits delicious, they provide the body with cancer-fighting, anti-heart disease abilities and protect against chronic illnesses. When produces’ stem is severed from the plant, the amount of phytonutrients is at its highest content. As time wares, phytonutrients’ content decreases, resulting in a weaker response of chronic disease-fighting nutrients. Therefore, Kids Food Basket recognizes the necessity of providing not just fresh but also local food for the community to thrive. 

Volunteers on the KFB Farm are welcome to harvest the bountiful hulls of crisp food throughout the summer. There are various opportunities to volunteer within the Kids Food Basket complex. Either enjoy a few hands-on hours in the field with the plants or participate in packing sack suppers inside. The components of every sack supper are a vegetable, protein, dairy or dairy substitute, fruit, and grain, all of which belong to the five essential food groups for nourishment. KFB emphasizes the inclusion of fresh vegetables and fruits from their farm/greenhouse. This ensures that our communities’ children receive the phytonutrients necessary to have strong immune systems. The volunteer facility welcomes all community members to participate in alleviating childhood hunger; the elderly, adults, young adults, and very young, plus it’s handicap friendly. It is a great event to do with school clubs, coworkers, family, or friends!

Compassion drives kindness, and kindness, in return, ignites inspiration in all, in every circumstance. Please consider donating your time, finances, or words to Kids Food Basket during Go Orange Month and beyond. Everything makes a difference in a child’s life when they do not know where or when their next meal will be. 

To volunteer indoors or outside(summer): Volunteer Opportunities

To donate: Donations

To learn and advocate: Mission

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