More than 200 students attend Grand Haven’s Central High School, and a number of them are doing it on an empty stomach and often without clothing needs being met. Social media and local news articles brought this critical need to the attention of the 100 Men group.
“Students living in poverty perform more poorly in school,” Central High School Principal Paul Kunde said. “Seventy percent of students attending CHS qualify for reduced-fee lunch. Schools use this number as a measure of poverty in their student population. On average, 20 percent of CHS students are homeless altogether.”
Because of both food and clothing deficits among their population, Central High School has maintained a pantry for students in need. Due to a recent spike in need, the school found the pantry shelves empty. A social media campaign has stocked the shelves for the present, but the need will be ongoing.
“Learning from a disadvantaged position of poverty is difficult enough, but add an empty stomach to the school day or weekends between makes that effort all the more difficult,” Kunde said.
The 100 Men voted to support helping CHS create dedicated space for a food and clothing pantry, where students can utilize these donations out of view of the general school population.
“Where successful students at Grand Haven High School may go off to university and move on to other cities, CHS graduates are largely lifelong Tri-Cities residents,” Kunde said. “It just makes sense to invest in these kids — they will be living here and working for local companies for the rest of their lives.”
The 100 Men Who Give help charitable organizations in the Tri-Cities area by making unanticipated gifts to support good works in the community. The group currently has about 70 members and meets quarterly in Spring Lake. In a one-hour meeting each quarter, the group listens to presentations from three randomly selected members representing local organizations, asks questions of the presenters, and then votes to determine which agency receives its charitable funds. Each member writes a $100 check and the funds are quickly disbursed to the winning agency.
The 100 Men Who Give is open to all and welcomes new members at any time. The group’s next meeting is Thursday, Jan. 18, at 5:30 p.m. at Seven Steps Up in Spring Lake. Those interested can contact Kyle Williams at [email protected] or 616-402-1389 for more information.