Lakeshore Food 4 Kids

food for kids logo

Lakeshore Food 4 Kids (LF4K) is a nonprofit weekend food “backpack” program for K-12 students experiencing food insecurity in the Ludington Area School District. 

LF4K delivers roughly 150 food bags to the elementary, middle, and high schools each week during the school year. The food is distributed to participating students at school as they leave for the weekend or before a long break.

Why LF4K?

food for kids line upLearners who come to school with a full belly are more focused and better able to learn, safeguarding a brighter future. By removing a barrier to education, Lakeshore Food 4 Kids hopes to allow youth a greater chance for success.

What does a food bag contain?

Bags are planned according to a 4-week, rotating menu. Each bag contains items similar to the meals a child would receive at school: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 snacks, two servings of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables. Older students receive two additional dinner entrees. *

Typical items include non-perishable, nutritious food such as fruit cups, cereals, pastas, peanut butter, vegetables, snacks, and other easily prepared items. 

*Food bags are meant to feed the individual students receiving them.

How do I sign up for LF4K?

Each LASD student has an icon on his/her iPad to sign up. Just look for this icon.

LF4K LogoParents/guardians and/or students may also contact a school counselor and request to participate.


 

How much does it cost to fill a child's backpack?

$150 covers the cost to feed one child over the weekend and long breaks for one school year.

LF4K road of bagsHow is this program funded?

LF4K is funded by the community. Caring individuals, groups, and businesses have given monetary donations, purchased reusable bags, and donated food. Several community members have sponsored one or more backpacks during the holiday season. We have also received grants from generous organizations, local and beyond.

Several dedicated individuals and groups partner to run this program. They include LASD school counselors at all levels (with detailed coordination by Jennifer Shaw and Steve Hull), Mark Boon, LASD food service director Kevin Lange and staff, Community Schools Coordinator Becky Erickson, Lakeshore Food Club, LASD transportation staff, and the co-founders of LF4K.

Who packs the bags?

Each week during the school year, students and staff from the Trailblazers classroom partner with counselors, the Community Schools Coordinator, and other dedicated volunteers to pack bags. The Trailblazers group chooses to support the backpack program to broaden their employability skills, and their involvement serves as a class community service project. 

Where does backpack food come from?                                                                  

Food is purchased from Feeding America, local stores, and other available community resources. Some food is donated by local farmers and other generous individuals, businesses, and groups.

The history of Lakeshore Food For Kids.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead

In the winter of 2015, a few Ludington moms got together after their kids went to bed. While chatting about their families, the topic turned to their kids' hungry classmates. One shared the story of a student at a Halloween party who chose to remain at the refreshment table eating rather than celebrate and play games with her classmates. Another mom talked about her child’s friend who never had a snack to bring to school; this child relied on a generous teacher or a classmate who snuck an extra snack from home. Yet another mom shared the story of a first grader at her child’s school who visited the office every week to get a loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter from the school secretary. The mothers realized that night that they had all been sending extra snacks to their children’s schools. They also realized that these extra snacks were not enough.

In the fall of 2016, Sara Ewing, Carrie Brandt, and Tara Autrey partnered with the Lakeshore Food Club to begin operating Lakeshore Food 4 Kids for students experiencing food insecurity at Ludington Area’s three elementary schools. 

OJ Middle School Counselors Steve Hull and Amy Marsh, LASD Food Service Supervisor Donna Garrow, and Mark Boon saw a similar need at the secondary level. Inspired by LF4K, they began a very similar weekend program, “Orange and Black Packs,” in 2017 for middle and high school students experiencing food insecurity. 

The two backpack food programs merged in January 2020 to become one program for K-12 students under the name “Lakeshore Food 4 Kids.” The entire program also became housed within the walls of LASD in 2020, allowing LF4K to continue to serve students through the pandemic. LF4K continues to call LASD home today while remaining a nonprofit, independently funded program.

How can I donate to LF4K?

Lakeshore Food 4 Kids welcomes donations year-round. To give online, go to https://mason-foundation.org/give/give-now/ and choose Lakeshore Food 4 Kids under the list of specific funds. Online donors have the option to give as a memorial or honorary gift.

You may also mail a check. Please write it to "Community Foundation for Mason County” and place "Lakeshore Food 4 Kids" in the memo line. Send it to:

The Community Foundation for Mason County
P.O. Box 10
Ludington, MI 49431

Questions? CONTACT US AT:  lakeshorefood4kids@gmail.com

Visit and “like” our Facebook page for updates!

We also happily accept donations of non-perishable items during the school year. Please see our “Item of the Month” list below for suggestions!

LF4K Items of the month