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My Town: Founder of Kids' Food Basket honored with highest award | Community Spirit

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My Town: Founder of Kids' Food Basket honored with highest award
My Town: Founder of Kids' Food Basket honored with highest award

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—   A Grand Rapids woman who pioneered a program to help feed children in need is earning recognition from the state.

On June 30, Mary K. Hoodhood accepted the Governor George Romney Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteerism.  The award is the most prestigious of the Governor’s Service Awards, honoring an individual who has made a lifelong commitment to their community. 

In 1980, a vehicle accident put Hoodhood in a wheelchair, but also started her on a path to volunteering, which began with the Meals on Wheels program at God’s Kitchen.  In 2001, she founded Kids' Food Basket to combat childhood hunger.  The program started by providing evening meals to 125 children at three Grand Rapids public schools; now 5,700 children at 32 schools in Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Wyoming rely on it, as well as 600 kids at two Muskegon schools.

Kids' Food Basket recently launched Kids’ Supper Club, which takes the KFB model of feeding those in need nationally. 

In addition to her work with Kids' Food Basket, Hoodhood has volunteered for Indian Trails Camp, Kent County Juvenile Court, the Kent County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Michigan Quality Community Care Council, Americans with Disabilities Act Advisory Committee and many other organizations. In 2010, she received the Presidential Citizen’s Medal from President Barack Obama for her efforts with Kids’ Food Basket.

Other honorees during last month's awards ceremony with Governor Snyder included RSVP- Your Invitation to Volunteer of Kalamazoo, which was honored with the Outstanding National Service Program Award, and Gloria Mireles of Marshall, who was given the Volunteer of the Year award.

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