Chiedza means “light”. We sat at the restaurant after a long walk and little after reading “Four score and many years ago…” engraved on the wall. “Guys, do you know what’s for dessert?” said one of my new friends who had just came back to the table with information to share. She inserted a perfectly timed dramatic pause. “Rice pudding!!” she interjected with a delight I have rarely seen. It was May the 6th, I had already been away from home for 11 days, and I had just witnessed a person completely light a room. I had never seen anyone shine so bright. I invite you to take a look at Chiedza Gadzirayi’s blog. You will see why her name is so appropriate.

(Personal disclaimer) Dear reader, I will be disrespectful to the idea that time and space should be linear when writing. I believe you and I will enjoy ourselves better by discarding this convention. I will be jumping from places and moments in time without notice. Forgive me if there seems to be no order whatsoever among and within my entries, but I will do my best to make this bumpy ride as enjoyable for you as it is for me. (End of disclaimer)

(You are not alone) was written in purple on the brown paper bag. I stopped abruptly when I saw the girl write the closing parenthesis. She continued adorning the bag with a different crayon. I remained absorbed.

Our Sack Supper program at Kids’ Food Basket is a community solution to alleviate hunger 1 in 4 children in Michigan suffer. Through local farmers, organizations of all sizes, and people like you and me, we receive all the food we need to pack over 6,300 evening meals every day for children in Grand Rapids and Muskegon. Using lunch paper bags, over 170 volunteers make this effort a reality, either by packing the suppers or by delivering them to the schools before the children go home. This dinner pack empowers the children in our community and helps develop their potential to the fullest, giving them the energy and nutrition they need to live and grow well. This whole process is much better explained in this short animated video: http://bit.ly/1lMhkjO. You are going to love it. If it speaks to you, I encourage you to take a look at our website: http://bitly.com/4HntkM.

“And the final element of a Sack Supper is a touch of love” said Becca, a colleague and friend of mine, inviting that middle school class to decorate brown bags that would be filled and delivered to thousands of children that same afternoon. I sat down with them and we started drawing and writing on the empty bags. Little did I know I would be captivated by the words written in one of those bags minutes later.

There is a magic going on at Kids’ Food Basket. There is something very special about the community in Grand Rapids. I can see it. I can feel it. I am very passionate about community building and I wish to learn all I can about it to dedicate my professional career to this end.

Reading those four purple words, dedicated to an unknown kid who will never be able to thank her in person, without expecting anything in return for making that brown bag something extraordinary, I knew it. There is no better place to be than right here.

My name is Arturo Gonzalez. I am an Atlas Corps Fellow from Mexico serving at Kids’ Food Basket in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

My first Sack Suppers. One of my favorite parts of serving at Kids' Food Basket.

My first Sack Suppers. One of my favorite parts of serving at Kids’ Food Basket.

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