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Mary K. Hoodhood’s vision eases childhood hunger
Editor’s note: Each issue of the Influential Women enewsletter will feature profiles of the Business Journal’s reigning 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan. The profile first appeared in the event program.
No one questions the vision Mary K. Hoodhood brought to the table when she founded Kids’ Food Basket in 2001. She first conceived of the idea to provide children with sack suppers after hearing the story of a young girl who rummaged for food in the trash for her evening meal.
Since then, she has inspired and led Kids’ Food Basket in a myriad of ways. She is the past chair and a current member of the board and volunteers 30 hours each week for the nonprofit, concentrating her efforts on public relations and fund development. She remains tenacious in giving adults and children alike the opportunity to become involved in eradicating childhood hunger in West Michigan.
Despite a traumatic car accident that left her a quadriplegic in 1980, Hoodhood has shown a “can-do attitude” that encourages and motivates others. She has gone on to complete a master’s degree in social work, work full time as manager of volunteer services at God’s Kitchen and found Kids’ Food Basket.
She serves as board vice president for Indian Trails Camp and is a board member for Michigan Community Quality Care and the Center for Independent Living. She also advises the city of Grand Rapids and Kent County Juvenile Court on behalf of citizens with disabilities.
Hoodhood’s many honors include the Invest in Ability Award, Art Van Hope Award, Celebration of Soul – Dr. Malinda P. Sapp Legacy Award, U.S. Presidential Citizens Medal and YWCA Tribute Award.