It’s Valentine’s Day, and Rachel Rounds of Evart, Michigan, is celebrating her 18th birthday.
“I just got back from a mission trip to Africa, and I was thinking about different things to do for my birthday, maybe going to see a movie or something like that,” she says.
Instead, Rachel decided to do something a little more meaningful.
She got a dozen of her friends to don hairnets and neoprene gloves and hit the Food Bank, where they spent the morning digging through bins of potatoes. Her time in Kenya and Uganda had inspired her to think about how she could help people closer to home, she says.
Osceola County, where Rachel lives, has a high rate of food insecurity. Hunger affects 15 percent of people there, including more than a quarter of all children, according to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study.
In just a few hours, Rachel and her friends had sorted 23,000 meals worth of potatoes for local families in Osceola and throughout West Michigan.
In the coming years, Rachel hopes to work with refugee women, providing counseling and teaching practical job skills. In the immediate future, Rachel will be taking her friends out for ice cream — “Something a little more birthday-related,” she laughs.
Feeding America West Michigan wishes a happy birthday to Rachel and a happy Valentine’s Day to all our volunteers, whose compassion never fails to amaze us.