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Pay it Forward Person of the Month: Nancy Johnson

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HOWARD CITY, Mich., (MAY 30, 2014) After spending several years working in the cafeteria of McNaughton Elementary, Nancy Johnson realized her job to help feed students couldn’t end on Friday.

Two years ago, she decided to launch a take-home meal program, providing students with what she dubbed “macbaskets”. The packed bags are full of various snacks for the weekend. The program started small with donations and just under 50 kids in need at McNaughton Elementary. Now wrapping up its second year,  it’s expanded to every school in the Tri-County Area school district with a list of kids topping 300.

“It’s a wonderful, amazing feeling,” Johnson told FOX 17 News. “I can’t even tell you how it makes me feel to see my dream fulfilled like this.”

Once a week, dozens of volunteers meet to pack the meals. They are then delivered to the schools and handed out to the students every Friday. Food donations come in from the community, Helping Hands Food Pantry and Feeding America.

Teachers say they’ve noticed a big difference since the “macbaskets” started going out.

“They look forward to it,” said McNaughton Kindergarten teacher Mary Overbeek.“It’s so important that they come in well rested and obviously well fed, so what an impact she’s had on that area of education.”

Nominator Shari Miller said Johnson is deserving to be featured as the Amway Pay it Forward Person of the Month for her compassion, and heart for children.

“Whenever she talks about it, she talks about the volunteers that help her and how happy the kids are, it’s not about what [she’s] done. It’s all about the program,” Miller told FOX 17 News. “She’s always positive, she’s always looking to do more, especially for children.”

Johnson said she plans to send the kids home with extra food when the school year ends next Month. She’s also in the process of raising money for a food truck in the Fall.

To learn more, or to donate, contact Johnson at njohnson@tricountyschools.com

Food and cash donations can also be dropped off at South Ensley United Methodist Church, 13600 Cypress Ave, Sand Lake, MI 49343.

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