Heroes emerge in times of crisis. Given that 22% of Michigan’s children can’t always count on their next meal, our state is in crisis indeed. Each community throughout our state bears its own issues with why some people lack access to vital nutrition and consistent food sources. For Flint, MI and its surrounding counties, Margie Shard has stepped in to make a difference.
When Margie first toured Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, she was stunned to learn how extensive childhood hunger was in the region. School often provides the only reliable meal for a number of kids suffering food insecurity. Can you imagine the stress that is felt each Friday as these students faced the thought of their weekend?
Margie found childhood hunger an unacceptable component of her community and quickly took action. She formed a committee and planned her first fundraising event for the food bank, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the Backpack Program. The first event raised nearly $20,000. By 2014, Margie raised over $100,000 to feed hungry children.
Food Bank of Eastern Michigan’s Backpack Program provides children at risk of hunger a backpack of food every weekend containing breakfasts, lunches, dinners and several snacks. Supporting children’s nutrition throughout 21 of Michigan’s counties is a big job and this partnership between Margie and the Food Bank produces powerful results. In the words of one backpack recipient, “Thank you for my food. I like it because sometimes we run out of food and now I can just get food out of my bag.”
On March 5th, Margie hosted the 4th Annual Shard Financial Backpack Night Fundraiser, resulting in $115,117 in contributions for the children of Genesee and surrounding counties! The spectacular evening of fundraising for over 500 guests included a strolling dinner from 17 local eateries, live auctions, a silent auction, a fashion show, a comedy show, and special guest and television personality Dr. Nandi.
In 2014, The Food Bank Council of Michigan and Food Bank of Eastern Michigan had an opportunity to honor Margie at the annual Michigan Harvest Gathering Luncheon. Guests listened as Kara Ross, Vice President of Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, described Margie’s role in securing food for the Backpack Program, and Attorney General Bill Schuette presented her with an award.
Margie is an inspiration to her community and a source of hope for each child that has gone without meals. Food Bank Council of Michigan and Food Bank of Eastern Michigan thank Margie and Shard Financial for their heroic support of the children of Genesee and surrounding counties.
See media coverage: Shard Financial Exceeds Goal for 4th Annual Backpack Night.