Katrina Kramer-Smith strives to model to her four young children how to become positive contributors to their community.
Kramer-Smith is taking that to the next level later this month, as she’s helped organize a drive-in meal for up to 500 people, to take place at Watermark Church on Sunday, Feb. 14.
“There is an absurd need for food in our area, especially when schools close,” Kramer-Smith said. “The hunger the children are feeling really hurts my heart.”
Initially, she hoped to plan a fundraiser that would forgive all outstanding school breakfast and lunch debt, but since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, schools are providing those means free of charge.
“Now we’re trying to feed as many local families as we can, to ease hunger for at least one meal,” Kramer-Smith said.
She’s partnered with several restaurants and other businesses throughout the Tri-Cities to make this meal happen. John Weenum at Mancino’s Pizza has been one of the key contributors, along with Carolyn Taylor at Fifth-Third Bank.
She also connected with Josh Bytwerk at Love In Action, and has received help from friends Cindy Scheerhorn and Chris Bole. Several other businesses have either committed or are considering donations.
The meal will include lasagna, salad, bread, corn and a sweet treat for dessert.
Distribution will take place beginning at 1 p.m. at Watermark Church, 13060 U.S. 31, south of Grand Haven. Anyone who would like a meal is welcome to drive through and receive food, although Kramer-Smith hopes attendees are primarily those struggling to make ends meet. The distribution will continue until 5 p.m. or all the food is gone.
“It’ll be a drive-through service,” she said. “People will pull through and we’ll be masked and gloved and deliver through the driver side window. It’s almost contactless.
“We’re hoping to serve 500, although we’re going to try to make 600 meals, as a buffer. Nobody is excluded, but I’m hoping it will attract those who need it most.”
Watermark Church pastors Steve Deur and Steve Thompson have been huge helps, Smith-Kramer said.
“I reached out to them to see if they thought it was a good idea, and they jumped on board right away,” she said.
With the distribution on Valentine’s Day, Kramer-Smith took a cue from candy conversation hearts and dubbed the event, “Just Because.”
“Just because of COVID, just because we care about you, just because you’re loved,” she said.
Showing acts of kindness toward their community is nothing new for Katrina and her husband, Kyle.
“We’ve been very busy within the community,” she said. “That’s something my husband and I really preach is showing kindness. We made cards for a nursing home; made meals for friends who have had unfortunate things happen to them; I started making cakes for people in the area who need an extra smile.
“We try to show our children to be good examples of how to be better people.”