Lakeshore Food 4 Kids hoping to expand; Purses with Purpose fundraiser scheduled

July 26, 2023

Volunteers cleaned and sorted purses Wednesday morning. Submitted photo.

Lakeshore Food 4 Kids hoping to expand; Purses with Purpose fundraiser scheduled

LUDINGTON — Lakeshore Food 4 Kids is planning to expand its service area to include all area schools. The program, now in its seventh year, is dedicated to combating food insecurity among children in the community. By providing backpacks filled with nutritious meals and snacks, the program ensures that vulnerable children have access to nourishing food over the weekends and during school breaks. 

The program has served children at Ludington Area School District. Its board is now working with Lakeshore Food Club with the goal to expand to other schools, according to Tara Autrey, program director. 

Submitted photo

To help with the cost of expansion, a fundraising event, Purses with Purpose, is schedule for Thursday, August 17 at the Stearns Ballroom at Stearns Hotel, 212 E. Ludington Ave. The event combines a purse auction with the opportunity to bid on experiences, all for a worthy cause.

“We are excited to share that the backpack program is becoming a program arm of the Lakeshore Food Club,” said Autrey. “This transition will provide the opportunity for Lakeshore Food 4 Kids to make a tangible difference in the lives of vulnerable children throughout all of Mason County, ensuring students have access to the nutrition they need to thrive.

“Under the management of Lakeshore Food Club, Lakeshore Food 4 Kids will continue to partner with schools, volunteers, and local businesses to create a healthier and more equitable community for all students. This move also creates long-term sustainability, something that is of most importance to us.

“Purses with Purpose offers a fantastic opportunity for both fashion enthusiasts and those passionate about impacting the lives of children,” Autrey said.

Attendees will have the chance to bid on a large selection of new and gently-loved purses, many with designer labels like Coach, Kate Spade, and Michael Kors. In addition, exclusive experiences will be auctioned such as a resort getaway, golf and spa packages, culinary adventures, and unique outdoor experiences.

All proceeds from the event will directly support the Lakeshore Food 4 Kids program, allowing more school children to be served.

“Purses with Purpose is a collaborative effort that brings together the community, businesses, and philanthropists who share a common goal of alleviating food insecurity among local children,” said O’Nealya Gronstal, executive director of Lakeshore Food Club. “School breakfasts and lunches may be the only meals some students receive during the week without the support of a backpack program. One in five children in Mason County live in poverty. At Mason County Eastern Schools alone, 74% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch; In Ludington Area Schools, 52% of students qualify for free and reduced lunches; at Gateway to Success Academy, 98% of students qualify.”

Tickets may be purchased at Alternatively, tickets may also be purchased by contacting Cathy Coleman at

For more information about the event or to donate purses or experiences, please email Tara Autrey at

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