Gather 2 Grow program to nourish kids this summer with support from Belmont Engineered Plastics

librarians give out meals

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich., June 2, 2022 — Feeding America West Michigan is announcing Gather 2 Grow, a new program that aims to nourish kids’ bodies and minds during the summer in partnership with local libraries. The program is funded in part by a generous $20,000 gift from Belmont Engineered Plastics.

Gather 2 Grow is replacing the Library Lunches to Go program, which ran at 15 Kent District libraries and their Bookmobile last year. This year, Gather 2 Grow will run at 25 libraries in Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Muskegon and Newaygo counties. The program will serve nutritious meals at no cost to youth (18 and under) and disabled adults up to age 26 starting June 6. Various meal options including vegetarian and nut-free will be available.

In 2021, 50 percent of Michigan kids qualified for free and reduced-price lunches during the school year, but only 15 percent accessed summer meals through the state’s Meet Up & Eat Up program. The reasons kids can’t access summer meals are complex, but Gather 2 Grow aims to make summer meals easier to access by increasing options.

“Kids need food in order to learn, grow and have fun in the summer,” said Shay Kovacs, the food bank’s Programs Manager. “Gather 2 Grow will take the burden off parents so they don’t have to worry how they’ll feed their kids when school’s out.”

The food bank aims to expand the program to other parts of its 40-county service area in future years and plans to provide educational resources as well. This expansion is one goal of their recently announced Nourish Tomorrow campaign.

Below, find the locations for each county and their days and times of service, or visit

Allegan County

Kent County

All host sites are at Kent District Library branch locations.

Ionia County

Muskegon County

Newaygo County

About Feeding America West Michigan
Serving local families in need since 1981, Feeding America West Michigan reclaims millions of meals’ worth of safe, surplus food from various sources. With the help of countless volunteers, the food bank sorts, stores and distributes this food through a network of more than 800 partners to fill hundreds of thousands of neighbors’ plates instead of landfills. The food bank’s service area consists of 40 of Michigan’s 83 counties from the Indiana border north through the Upper Peninsula. For more information, visit or call 616-784-3250.