Many Hands Foundation
Roughly 10,000 children in Ingham County struggle with hunger outside of school, making them twice as likely to have to repeat a grade or need special education. On average, these kids are one to two grade levels behind.
The Weekend Survival Kit Program serves children who are food insecure during non-school hours, specifically on the weekends. It does this by discreetly distributing food bags to the students to take home for weekend meals.
Founder Jeff Gorseline started the Many Hands Foundation in 2012 in Williamston, and has watched it grow to serve nearly 1,900 kids in Haslett, Okemos, Lansing, East Lansing, DeWitt, Williamston and Dansville.
“It’s amazing how fast it exploded,” said Gorseline, whose day job is as an investment advisor. “I wish I could do this every day.”
Packing sessions are held monthly at Okemos Community Church and are entirely volunteer-run. “They’ll pack 2,000 bags in an hour and 15 minutes.”
Each bag comes in around a cost of $5 — including the bag itself — and typically contains enough food for seven meals and snacks. Bags are distributed to elementary students every other week throughout the school year.
“We’re hoping to get to 3,000 kids next year,” Gorseline said. “We know we’re making a difference. We need to do more.”