Kids’ Food Basket

Olympic Spirit!

I love the Olympics!

This year the Olympic Refugee Team warms my heart.

OLMPICcollage1

We celebrated the Olympic spirit with a Talk Justice playgroup!

My friend Janyre read us Can You Say Peace by Karen Katz.

OLYMPICcollege2

The kids painted Olympic rings and completed an obstacle course. My parents prepared Olympic gold medals for all our participants.

OLYMPICcollage3

We were able to support Kids’ Food Basket by decorating one hundred lunch sacks, Holland Rescue Mission with a trunk load of clothing, and $31.00 to The Flint Water Fund. As hard as it is to believe, people in the state Michigan are still struggling to have clean water. It’s a great reminder that when initial news stories die down, there are still people living in that reality.

What is your favorite Olympic sport?

Summer 2016 Talk Justice Events

TJsummer2016

Let’s make a difference together this summer! I’m so excited to invite you all to our Summer 2016 #TalkJustice Events. We very much hope to see you there!

Join our Facebook Event Page to get updates and ask questions.

TJ ACTS

Acts Holland is a family. A place for kids to be embraced, equipped, and empowered.

We will be supporting Jaime Blom and Acts this summer! Last year, they shared their thoughtful art with us and this year we get to give back to them! Follow their work on Facebook here.

Read a book, create art, and play. Give back by bringing: List coming soon!

 

TJ Hope Pkgs

Hope Pkgs is a community based ministry that provides first night bags to kids entering the foster care system. There are approximately 220- 350 kids in foster care in Ottawa County at any given time. These bags provide hope, comfort and meet tangible needs.

We will be supporting Lisa Hoeve and Hope Pkgs this summer! Follow the work of Hope Pkgs on Facebook.

Every child is so special! We can’t wait to celebrate kids by sharing a story, making a fabric prayer bookmark, playing with parachutes, celebration play doh and more. Your family can give back by bringing a first night bag to donate, or joining with another family to put together a bag to bring.

TJ Olympics

#TalkJustice Olympics!

Event 1: Decorating Lunch Bags for Kids Food Basket.

Event 2: Holland Rescue Mission Clothing Drive- Donate your used clothing to be sold in the Rescue Mission Thrift Store. Did you know you can also donate clothing that can’t be reused to wear? They also recycle textiles and receive the profits.

Event 3: Bring a dollar to support the Flint Water Fund distributed by United Way.

We’ll be sharing a story about peace, participating in an Olympic obstacle course, making olympic ring pictures and having an Olympic flag scavenger hunt. Give back through our three featured events and receive your service medal.

 

We hope to see you at Kollen Park this summer! Let’s make a difference and serve locally!

Wondering what Talk Justice Events are like? Look at pictures of our past events here.

All ages are welcome! We love it when older children help at stations too.

I’d love to answer any of your questions! aboutproximity@gmail.com

 

#TalkJustice Kids Helping Kids

KFB Playgroup1

I love #talkjustice playgroups. I love the proximity, the kids, the families, the organizations and everyone working as a community! Want to partner on a playgroup? Contact us at aboutproximity@gmail.com

Our next playgroup is Monday evening, December 14, 6:30-7:30. The wise and talented Rev. Jodi Baron and Grace Episcopal Church will be hosting.

We will be reading the book Maddie’s Fridge. A wonderful story about childhood hunger.

Maddie's Fridge

We will also play and serve together supporting West Michigan’s Kids’ Food Basket.

At Kids’ Food Basket sack suppers are delivered to students throughout the school year to bridge the gap so school lunch is not the last meal of the day. In the summer sack suppers are delivered through local park programs. They serve nearly 7,000 kids in the West Michigan area.

Kids’ Food Basket is unique in its Kids Helping Kids initiative that allows children to serve at their on-site locations, something that is not always possible in nonprofits.

49,560 children living in Kent, Muskegon, and Ottawa counties are food insecure. There are many schools on the waiting list to be served by Kids’ Food Basket. When most of us have more than enough, these statistics are heartbreaking. We need not travel far to know hunger.

I hope many families will come out this busy holiday season to serve together! Join our Facebook Event Page to ask questions and get updates.

 

What does hunger look like where you live? What organizations meet the needs of food insecurity well? How could your family contribute? 

 

 

Be Encouraged

 

purple

The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. – Henri J.M. Nouwen. 

I have spent the last few weeks moving About Proximity to this new space! Every is the same, just a new address and a host that can do some bigger things. There were times when I felt like my head was going to explode trying to navigate all this technology. Pretty much nothing went right the first time, or second, or third… not everything is perfect yet, but I promise to get it right eventually (like the vertical social media icons). I had a pretty theme, that would not cooperate, therefore we are going minimalist. It’s about what’s one the inside, right?

Here, we have successfully transitioned back to school. There is now a middle schooler with a locker in our house, and a third grader. How this happens, I’m still not sure. This year I am working in fourth grade, sixth grade, and eighth grade.

 

I want to share a few things with you today Fall #TalkJustice Play Groups and encouragement. 

We have two fall playgroups scheduled in Holland with more being planned for the spring. Would you like to partner with us? Let me know! We would love it! Or can I help you with your own? aboutproximity@gmail.com

Our first is a partnership is with The Big Read in Holland. We will work with Herrick Public Library and Hope College who are reading the book, The Things They CarriedTuesday, November 17 at 7:00 we will gather for a story and support A Million Thanks and our local VFW to align with the theme of The Big Read.

Veterans Playgroup

In December, we will partner with a local organization Kid’s Food Basket. Kid’s Food Basket helps childhood hunger by providing sack suppers to children after school. We will be hosted at Grace Episcopal Church on Monday evening, December 14, from 6:30-7:30 for a story, play, and three service projects for the Kid’s Food Basket new Holland location. We will be decorating lunch sacks, repackaging snacks and supporting expansion with $1.00 donations.

KidsHelpingKidsStay connected and invite friends on our Facebook Event Page and our Service PlayGroup Facebook Page.

Here’s a fun little slideshow of all our fun this summer.

 

If you are like me you need a little encouragement coming out of summer!

  • Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience has a beautiful response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Read that here.
  • Our dear Amy Sullivan has a new book coming out this month. I’ll share more in the coming weeks, but here is a little preview!
  • I know this is a great sin… but I had never read the Harry Potter Series. I am now on book six and have lost a great deal of sleep. Oh the sweet and loyal friendships. (and you know I love a good love story… Ron and Hermione.)
  • And finally Socality Barbie on Instagram is a parody account of our “authentic” social media lives. It’s funny… really, really funny.

Following that account makes me feel better. #Iamauthenticallyamess and maybe that’s OK.

 

Like the quote above, it takes great strength to remain where we are sometimes. We can be assured that God has us, there is something greater being manifested in, around, and through our faithfulness. Be encouraged.

How can I pray for you as we head into the season of fall? 

 

 

Food Insecurity

food insecurityThe USDA defines food insecurity as meaning “consistent access to adequate food is limited by a lack of money and other resources at times during the year.” Food insecurity occurs in every county in the United States. Hunger touches the lives of 15.8 million children.

40% of food is thrown out in the US every year, or about $165 billion worth. All of this uneaten food could feed 25 million Americans. (National Resource Defense Council)

3 out of 4 teachers see hungry children in their classrooms. (No Kid Hungry)

We should not have these statistics in our country.

Find an organization in your area that addresses childhood hunger and get involved. No Kid Hungry and Feeding America are great national organizations in the United States.

food basket

This past Friday, Jodi Baron and I were able to visit a local organization that addresses food insecurity for kids. It is local to the West Michigan area, and we will be doing a service play group focused on them in December!

In Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Holland Kids’ Food Basket serves 7,000 kids at 38 schools. They send home sack suppers with kids that opt-in, providing nutritious meals for students after the school day is done.

In Ottawa County over 8,000 children live in poverty. At Holland Public Schools 400 families are homeless, and 70% quality for free and reduced lunch. In Holland, 600 kids at Holland Heights K-7 and Woodside Elementary are being given sack suppers through Kids’ Food Basket. Six schools remain on the waiting list to be served by Kids’ Food Basket.

 

How can you help? 

  • Sign up to volunteer here. Volunteers are needed for sandwich making, delivering sack suppers, and repacking snacks into mixes like cheerios, raisins, and goldfish. They allow families (kids five and up) to volunteer together. It would be a great way for youth groups to serve together. Groups can also decorate sack lunch bags!
  • To add schools and help them off the waiting list, three years of funds must be raised. Click here to host a fundraiser or a wish list drive.
  • Share this organization! You can follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Also, tell others about this way to serve, to ensure that children in our community do not go to bed hungry.