JENISON, Mich — Inside the former Aldi building on Chicago Drive, the non-profit Hand2Hand is currently growing its new headquarters.
The building will allow the faith-based organization to bring all team members under one roof, along with room for packing and food storage.
"If you drop a pin of where we are in West Michigan, this is the center," explained Cheri Honderd, the founder and executive director of Hand2Hand. "It's actually where it began, Jenison. And it's now where this Aldi is, it's just the perfect fit."
Hondered started the non-profit during the 2008 recession.
"When I even started in Jenison, nobody believed that there was a need, or that there was hungry kids," she said. "Times were tough for everybody and discovered there were kids in my local school that were coming to school hungry on a Monday morning."
Hand2Hand started by feeding 19 students in Jenison. The operation has now expanded to students in 230 schools.
The organization partners with 130 churches to help pack and distribute the meals to students each week.
Honderd said the new space will allow Hand2Hand to become more efficient and effective; feeding up to 10,000 more students.
"This is almost 16,000 square foot, so we are so excited," Honderd told FOX 17 News. "This building will now provide our own room. We've always had to use somebody else's space, so we're looking forward to just bringing in more groups of people to join together, to fight and end weekend hunger."
The new space comes as Honderd predicts the need for their services will grow as federal funding to help schools during the pandemic runs out.
"We just believe that the need will be greater for lower income families who seem to have suffered the most through Covid," she explained.
The $1.9 million dollar expansion project is set to wrap up this summer, with the new headquarters set to open up in early June.
Fundraising for the project is still underway.
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