Keeping Kids Fed Through PowerPacks

Kim works part-time as a caretaker and companion to Skip, an adult who is developmentally challenged. They both regularly volunteer at TrueNorth for a variety of programs, one of which, TrueNorth’s Weekend PowerPacks, is personal for her.

Like many others, Kim has an adult child and grandchild living in her home. Her husband is off work and recently applied for disability, and with extra mouths to feed in the household, and the skyrocketing increases in the costs of living, particularly for groceries, food insecurity has been a common occurrence. Luckily, her grandson was recommended for TrueNorth’s Weekend PowerPacks program by his school staff.

Each week, he receives a big bag full of kid-friendly, shelf stable pre-packaged foods such as protein, nuts, cereal, pudding, soup, fruit, granola bars, microwaveable meals, snacks and/or other items. These are designed to fill the gap left behind over the weekend when students are not receiving meals at school.  

“He loves it… He waits every week for Thursday to come and bring that bag home, and it really makes a difference.” states Kim.

Weekly about 420 PowerPacks are distributed during the school year to students in four school districts in Newaygo County and NCRESA. The PowerPacks program has undergone a 740% increase over the past four years. 

According to Hunger Prevention & Children’s Services Director, Mike Voyt, “Hunger and Food insecurity is on the rise in our area. During the past four years, we have experienced a 200% increase in requests for food assistance through our in-house food pantry and a 275% increase in Mobile Pantry use. Thankfully our community has been with us every step of the way as we work to meet this urgent need”