LAINGSBURG, MI — There is something unique happening in downtown Laingsburg, and it has the residents talking. It is spreading across the community, and it is centered on what Good Neighbors are all about kindness.
Laingsburg is a small town in Shiawassee County. People here smile and wave at each other, and you see it from the main corners to the farmer’s market.
It’s no surprise that a movement is taking place here involving residents who want to help people who face food insecurity and, at the same time, help support local businesses.
It’s called Money 4 Meals, and it started in Laingsburg after a few residents saw a post on social media about a similar program in Texas.
Laura Smith, co-owner of Firefly Ridge Farms, is contributing.
“We are participating in a program called Money 4 Meals. You have two options. You can either utilize our service if you need products. Like, we have sunflower seeds or bread, cookies or eggs. All we need is a simple initial and you can have the products. We keep track of that. The other option is to donate into a box so we can provide other people with food.”
Individuals and families who are food insecure in the Laingsburg area can stop into one of several participating restaurants to receive a free meal, beverage, or snack. All they have to do is ask to participate in the money 4 meals program or ask for a money 4 meals card to use elsewhere.
Firefly Ridge Farms is also participating by giving away fresh eggs and produce.
The program runs on the honor system, and it’s getting huge support.
Pastor Tiffany Newsome with the First United Methodist Church in Laingsburg is the program’s treasurer.
“There was somebody that came into the church one day and gave us $1,000, check to get us started so that we could launch both the meal portion and the fundraising portion at the same time.”
Carrie Rathbun Hawks is one of the Money 4 Meals founders.
“It's kind of a win-win for the restaurants too because it gets people into their business who are buying things. And they don't have to lay out any money for these free meals. It's all provided for by donations from community members.
Greg Hunt and Chris Phillips say they’ll use 4 Money, and also give to the program when they can.
“I think it helps the lower-income families and we are the lower income. I also love the pay-it-forward. I think that aspect, to me, shows the humanity of all of us.
“We have volunteers from the church that come to the businesses once a week to pick up the donation boxes, and then to bring back their forms if they need that and to bring them checks if they need more money.” Rathbun Hawks says. “I think it's a beautiful opportunity for the community to give back. And for people who are in need to be able to have access to food when they might not otherwise.
Wendy Kribs is the owner of the Dairy Den, one of the participating businesses.
“It's been a rough year for a lot of people. And one of the ways that you can see it being so rough is financially, but it doesn't change the fact that we all deserve a treat. So, whether it's a pizza from PDT’s, coffee at Ayven Grace, or an ice cream cone here, that doesn't change people's desire to enjoy things. And what an opportunity we are in as local business owners to be able to do it.”
Thank you to the city of Laingsburg and all the participating businesses who are passing it forward with the Money 4 Meals program. You are this week’s Good Neighbors.
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