BY SCOTT SULLIVAN
The greater life’s call, the greater life’s response. Among billions worldwide affected by coronavirus, those already most vulnerable — poor families, children … — are in the greatest peril.
With Michigan schools closed until at least April 6, how are students from low-income households who receive free and reduced lunches five days a week, to feed themselves? Especially if parents are laid off and/or lack reliable transportation?
Enter an ad hoc “Feeding the Gap” group of volunteers who met Saturday at Community Church of Douglas. Attending were principles in the 501c3 nonprofit Children First Lakeshore, which presents needy families weekend food backpacks; Christian Neighbors, representatives from nine churches, school and fire district lead-ers, plus more.
“We are now serving 275 students in Saugatuck and Fennville schools,” said CFL’s George Stoutin. “Our goal is to double the volume of food we deliver to as many as 1,200 children for six to eight weeks. Who knows when schools will reopen?
“All this is fluid. How we’re trying to cope is a work in progress.
“Fennville schools plan to have buses deliver backpacks to all families who are eligible,” he continued. “Saugatuck, which has more school-of-choice students who live out of district, are working out plans that might include pickup points.
“We’ve set community fundraising goal of $120,000 to do this,” Stoutin said. Tax-deductible donations may be made online at childrenfirstlakeshore.org or mailed to the organization at P.O. Box 980, Douglas, Mich., 49406.
“Volunteers will be needed to pack food at the church Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays,” added CCD Pastor Brandon Beebe. “We will have to do shifts, due to group limits.
“Douglas Christian Neighbors and Fennville’s Ladders of Hope food pantry will also be points of supply contacts.
“We learn as we go, but we’re doing our best,” he said.
Want to help, apply for assistance or learn more? Visit feedingthegap.com.