On the 13th of December, the 10th annual Night of Giving event took place at Palmer Elementary. Put together by First Park Congregational Church, a variety of items were provided for families to help bridge the gap while their kids were on winter break and wouldn’t be receiving the usual meals provided by the school.
Bags were filled with groceries, personal care items and household products. Families also got to pick out assorted holiday-themed extras, such as wrapping paper, toys and clothing.
“[Partnering with Feeding America West Michigan] has changed our world, because now [families] are getting a lot of stuff,” said Sara, the coordinator of the event.
Sara worked with other members of the church, youth group members and her friends to assemble and pack all of the bags. If families weren’t able to attend the event, they were still able to have bags set aside so they could come pick them up at the school before winter break began.
At the event, parents and children were walking around with big smiles on their faces, excited to be taking home some goodies they needed to help make the holiday season a bit easier.
It was Laura’s third year coming to the Night of Giving event, and she brought her four daughters along to pick up lots of items they’ll use this winter.
“Especially with the holidays coming up, and money being tight, this really helps.”
Mickelle has also been coming to this event for years. She loves Palmer and is grateful for all the school has done for her kids. The winter season is filled with multiple birthdays in their family in addition to celebrating Christmas, so having the ability to attend this event was “a huge blessing.”
“We’ve made it here every year. I actually look forward to it. As you see, my daughter even gets excited.”
Her daughter expressed how happy she was that she got to pick out a new hat and mittens!
Also in attendance at Night of Giving was principal of Palmer Elementary, Leanne. Due to her role at the school, she knows the students and their families well. She has observed how the need of families has changed over the years, and noted that this year the food was especially beneficial.
“The biggest item is always the food, especially the fresh produce. That’s usually the most appreciated. We try to hold this event as close to break as possible so they have fresh foods for the holidays. Park Church does the organization for [the event] and it’s just amazing.”
Feeding America West Michigan is grateful to be able to partner with First Park Congregational Church to make the Night of Giving event at Palmer Elementary as special as possible. Events like these are incredible examples of how we as a community can come together to change lives. We are also thankful for the financial support from organizations like Fresh Thyme Market which helps us to serve our community throughout all seasons of life.
Story written by Content Specialist Kelly Reitsma