YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Food insecurity is a real thing. Last week in our Your Neighborhood segment, Local 4 showed you a local nonprofit that provides meals through the weekend for students in the Avondale School District.
Now, we’re heading to another area where the need for food is growing. Thankfully, students are able to fill up every Friday.
It’s like grocery shopping for the children and even their entire families. Every Friday, double bagged plastic bags are filled with items to make a whole meal through the weekend. It’s called Friday Fill-Up.
“What we do is provide free-of-charge food kits to local elementary school children,” said Friday Fill-Up co-founder Gabby Burton. “In each kit they get six meals and three or four snacks, as well as fruit cups and veggie cups.”
From there, the bags of food go to students at Rawsonville Elementary and in the Van Buren School District who qualify for free or reduced lunch.
“These are our local kids,” Burton said. “They’re hungry. I mean, it’s really simple. This is a very real problem.”
Friday Fill-Up has only been running since early 2018 and operates out of a space at Trinity Episcopal Church. It’s not about just food for the kids. Each food kit comes with two breakfasts, two lunches, three snacks and a meal that can be prepared to feed the child’s entire family -- 110 children to be exact. The volunteers who make it work start filling the bags up well before Friday.
“Wednesday mornings, we have everything set up for our volunteers,” Burton said. “So there’s a group of volunteers that help set up that help count everything to 110. Wednesday evenings, another set of volunteers come in and they help fill the bags, which is a gratifying process to a lot of volunteers. Then, on Thursday morning, another set of volunteers takes the bags to the schools and delivers them to the social workers.”
On Friday, the students’ book bags are filled up as they head home for the weekend. For Burton, ending food insecurity within the area has become her mission, and she’s encouraging others to help as she watches the need for food grow.
“It’s frustrating to know that that’s out there and to have been living in it for the past few years because this wasn’t part of my world growing up," Burton said. "But it is my world now.”
Here’s how you can help: