How is The Bridge Responding?
During the remainder of the time that schools are not meeting in person the Bridge Youth Center is acting as one of 27 sites coordinated by Zeeland Public Schools for students and families to pick up sack meals. These sack meals provide essential breakfast and lunch options for students who would typically rely on having these nutrition needs met at school. However, the program is open to all families with children ages 0-18 and is not restricted to families who attend Zeeland Public Schools. Children do not need to be present for meals to be picked up. For more information on the collective ZPS food distribution effort, click here.
The Bridge is operating as a grab & go site, meaning sack meals will be brought directly out to people who walk or drive up. Additionally, The Bridge is collecting necessary supplies and other essential food items to provide assistance to families who are being impacted financially or who are struggling to find the items they need in stores.
The way it works:
- We are open to hand out food & supplies on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 12-6 pm.
- Drive up to the parking spaces at the entrance on the east side of the building. We come out to greet those picking up food and load items into cars.
- The bags of food on Mondays & Wednesdays have 2 breakfasts and 2 lunches. The bags of food on Fridays contain 3 breakfasts and 3 lunches.
How Can You Help?
While we know that not all are in a place to do more at this time, we want all who feel able and compelled to assist in caring for our community. There are a few ways that we’ve identified are our greatest areas of need:
- Support our mission to make sure all students who need food are able to get it: We’re asking for willing volunteers to identify families that they know might have a hard time getting the breakfast & lunch bags and to either directly pick up and deliver food or coordinate an effort to make sure that these children receive this food.
- Assist in the collection and coordination of additional food & household items: We’re seeing many families picking up food also asking for basic household and food items. As stores continue to struggle to keep necessities stocked, we’re doing our best to keep a stock of additional household, cleaning, and food items to hand out. We’re asking for individuals or groups to donate what they can so that all families can do their best to stay healthy and prepared for whatever comes next. If you can’t get to the store to buy goods to donate but have time to assist, we’re also asking for people to coordinate delivery of these items to The Bridge. Donations can be dropped off M/W/F from 8 am to 6 pm or T/TH 8 am to 12 pm in our drop boxes located inside our front doors. If you have questions about specific items that are in need or to coordinate a time to drop goods off, please call us at 616-772-3843 or email email@example.com.
- Keep our coordination and distribution efforts going strong through your financial support: We recognize that it takes a community to engage in all aspects of this effort and that there are some who, for many different reasons, are unable to gift goods or aid through their physical presence but who still want to be part of this massive effort. There are costs associated with the collection, coordination, organization, and distribution of all of these items. If you are interested in providing financial support, you can give directly through our giving page or by emailing Jed Mulder, our Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Spread the word: We want to make sure that all who want to give or who need the support are aware of the efforts that are being made to provide for all kids in our community. We’re asking for everyone to share what we’re doing with friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, etc., through conversations, messages, and social media efforts. To see updates on what we’re doing and what our needs are, please follow us on Facebook or Instagram and share as you can.
- Pray: All of the challenges and opportunities we are currently facing, both locally and globally, require tremendous faith and necessitate never-ending prayer. Above all, we’re asking all people of faith, regardless of the other ways you may provide assistance, to pray for this challenging and, at times, scary situation, for all those in our community who are most impacted and experiencing crisis, and for those who need additional strength to meet the sharply growing need that is presenting. If you would like to be kept up to date with specific ways you can pray for the work we’re doing and the needs of our community, we encourage you to become a prayer partner and join our prayer list. To get on our prayer list, please email email@example.com.
As resources & information are sent to us we will keep you updated by posting them below:
Additional Zeeland Community Food Resources: FOOD RESOURCES IN ZEELAND
Additional Educational Activities for Younger Students: mrwiebenga.weebly.com
Ottawa Area ISD Interactive Food Distribution Map: https://www.oaisd.org