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Expo Connects Families to Local Resources


Esperanza Mercado and her children now know how to get the biggest bang for their food buck at farmers markets this summer. Along with learning that, they also heard about programs offered at a local ministry, and talked to health-care providers and business representatives in their own community.

North Godwin Elementary School hosted the third annual Health and Wellness Fair with 18 vendors, including faith-based organizations, financial institutions and others sharing information on services in and surrounding the district.

Ana Morales receives information about getting fresh produce this summer through Double Up Food Bucks from Gordie Moeller, food security advocate

“It provides lots of different resources for families,” said Principal Mary Lang. The population at North Godwin is 88 percent economically disadvantaged, and 49 percent of students are Hispanic. Barriers to accessing resources often include language and transportation, Lang said.

Esperanza and her children, Alex, a Godwin Heights High School senior; Yra, a first-grader; and Coral, a kindergartner, said they were happy to receive goodies, information and ways to connect. They used a “Wellness Passport,” which was stamped by each vendor to enter into a drawing for prizes.

Kenzie Burt, school coordinator intern for Kent School Services Network, organized the fair. “It definitely provides families with knowledge,” she said.

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Esperanza Mercado and her children, Alex, a Godwin Heights High School senior and Yra, a first-grader, make their way around the fair

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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