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My Town: 'Many Hands Against Hunger' provides 200,000 meals

My Town: 'Many Hands Against Hunger' provides 200,000 meals

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.—  Feeding America West Michigan says supporters during its Many Hands Against Hunger luncheon benefit last month helped raise enough money to provide 200,000 meals to neighbors in need.

The Comstock Park-based organization shared the results of its Many Hands Against Hunger benefit Thursday.  Supporters and underwriters like Meijer brought in $50,019.50.

Feeding America West Michigan wants to recognize Judge Sara Smolenski and 8-year-old Owen Ronning for sharing their inspirational stories to motivate others to help. Last summer, Owen went without the traditional birthday gifts, asking for a mobile food pantry instead.  With his parent’s encouragement, Owen went door-to-door, asking for money to make the pantry happen.  In June, his act of kindness came to fruition, as he and his friends distributed 5,000 pounds of fresh produce, milk and baked goods to 115 families in need.

Caught Being Safe program launches statewide

Michigan State Police, local law enforcement and Michigan’s Field Neurosciences Institute have teamed up with McDonald’s of Michigan to once again launch “Caught Being Safe,” a statewide bicycle/scooter helmet safety program. Kids wearing helmets and “caught being safe” by participating law enforcement officials will treated to a free ice cream cone or Apple Dippers at McDonald’s. 

According to the Field Neurosciences Institute (of Michigan): “Caught Being Safe! has shown a significant increase in both helmet utilization and public awareness regarding the critical importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. This program has impacted not only children but adults as well.” 

My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

My Town: Finding free meals while school is out

School is out, leaving many children from low-income families without meals during the summer months.

That’s where the Michigan Department of Education’s Summer Food Service program comes in. The program provides nutritious meals to people 18 years of age or younger for free.  All participants need to do is show up.

There are hundreds of participating locations, including places in Walker, Grand Rapids North, Grand Rapids West, Grand Rapids South, Grand Rapids Central, Grandville, Wyoming, Kalamazoo, Kentwood, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Montague and Greenville. You can find the full list on the state website here.

My Town: Free tickets still available for 'Lets Go to Bat for Kids'

My Town: Free tickets still available for 'Lets Go to Bat for Kids'

COMSTOCK PARK, Mich.—The Media Giants and Catholic Charities West Michigan Padres will battle it out at Fifth Third Ballpark as “Let’s Go to Bat for Kids” returns this Thursday, June 26 with even more family-friendly events.

More than 1,200 people are expected to fill the ballpark for the fundraiser, which supports Catholic Charities West Michigan.  Tickets are free and can be reserved by visiting the organization’s website.  In addition to the softball game between local priests and media personalities, families may take part in a Lego building station, face painting, crafts, a doughnut dunking station and meet Crash of the West Michigan Whitecaps.

My Town: 'Be a Hero, Be a Foster Parent' run June 28

My Town: 'Be a Hero, Be a Foster Parent' run June 28

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Foster children face a tough road- only half graduate high school and within two years of leaving foster care, one in four land in jail.

Lutheran Social Services of Michigan also says children and teenagers that go through the foster care system experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at twice the rate of U.S. war veterans.  That’s why the organization is looking for additional adults and families to “Be a Hero, Be a Foster Parent” and help these children.

Super hero capes will be handed out to participants of the Super Run, taking place June 28 at Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery, located at 3142 4 Mile Road NE.  The fundraising and “friend-raising” event includes a 5K and 1K run/walk, which begins at 10 a.m.  Registration is $25 prior to the event or $30 the day of. For more information, email service@thesuperrun.com or (856) 777-8737.

My Town: Check out a Book Buddy at your local library

My Town: Check out a Book Buddy at your local library

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Firemen, ballerinas, mascots, sports figures, literary characters and more will be at local library branches on June 21 to get kids reading!

Kent District Library, Grand Rapids Public Library and the Heart of West Michigan United Way are joining forces to present Book Buddies, a program that encourages children to check out a “book buddy” and spend ten minutes reading their favorite book together.

The Book Buddies program is designed to help children meet the goal of reading 400 minutes over the summer, the amount of time it is estimated that kids should spend reading to prevent summer slide and maintain the reading gains they made over the school year.

Seven local library branches will present Book Buddies on June 21. The schedule is as follows:

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (National Heritage Academies)—Every child will lose a portion of the academic growth they experienced this school year during the summer break; It’s called summer learning loss. The problem is becoming so apparent the National Summer Learning Association has designated Friday, June 20, Summer Learning Day.

“It is so easy for students to slip into a summertime routine that doesn’t involve reading, writing, or using their math skills,” said Ridge Park Charter Academy Principal Emory Wyckoff. “We are challenging our students to set aside time each day to devote to a book or write about a summer experience they have enjoyed. Summer should be fun and educational.”

Wyckoff has some tips to help parents curb the summer slide: