EDC, Ford Fund generate over $50,000 for Feed Northland Kids

Volunteers for Feed Northland Kids recently prepared community food kits for distribution to students no longer in school. This group was at the Antioch Bible Baptist Church in Gladstone.

CLAY COUNTY — The Ford Motor Company Fund and the Clay County Economic Development Council recently combined forces to raise more than $50,000 to help fight hunger among Northland school children, according to a press release.

The EDC event was both unusual and effective: a virtual happy hour that drew EDC members, supporters and friends May 1 via a Zoom meeting. The event raised more than $20,000 for the 11-year-old Feed Northland Kids, boosting recent efforts to ensure children home from school due to COVID-19 still receive healthy meals.

“These are Clay and Platte County kids that counted on the meals they received on the weekend through our pantries,” noted Chris Evans, executive director for the program. “Schools are out, but these kids are still hungry.”

The Ford Motor Company Fund initially committed $15,000 to help Feed Northland Kids when it became obvious school children would not be returning to school in March. Then former EDC Chair Tony Reinhart, who serves as the government affairs representative for Ford, proposed adding another $15,000 as a challenge grant. The EDC members accepted the challenge, and went beyond the original goal raising over $20,000, making the total more than $50,000.

“We saw the need and thought it was something Ford and the EDC could do to help the community,” Reinhart explained. “I want to thank the EDC for really stepping up to the challenge. It’s great to see our members come together to help the community.”

EDC Executive Director TJ Berry noted the virtual happy hour was added as a way to encourage socializing and social distancing. “The idea of a Zoom fundraiser sounded like something that would be fun and a great way to raise funds for Feed Northland Kids,” Berry noted. “In today’s new world fundraising may be different, but the need to provide for children has not changed.”

The fundraising came at a perfect time. Before schools closed for the year, the Northland program distributed up to 2,000 BackSnacks from Harvesters each week to all nine Northland school districts. “Since schools closed, we’ve pivoted from our pantries into a mobile program,” Evans said. “We’ll keep adding more, and this really helps that.”

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