Assembly line workers arrive for their appointed shifts, rotating in and out like clockwork.  They work efficiently and quickly.  Components are grouped, bagged, tagged and boxed.  Orders are fulfilled and cartons are stacked, waiting for distribution.  

If you work in manufacturing this process probably sounds familiar. However, in this case the product being made is much different than what the team from Sparks Belting usually does.  

Instead of fabricating conveyor belts and assembling motorized pulleys destined for some of the world’s largest companies, the team is assembling sacks of food at Kids’ Food Basket that will be sent home with local school children who otherwise might go to bed hungry.   


Sparks employees and family members who volunteered to pack supper sacks.

Kids’ Food Basket, a Grand Rapids nonprofit, began over 10 years ago by serving 125 kids each school day through a Sack Supper program and now serves over 4,900 kids every school day in Grand Rapids, at local sites through the summer, and at a satellite branch in Muskegon. 

Human Resource Manager, Mike Sheridan said Sparks provides volunteers to Kids’ Food Basket because it is a worthwhile program and it offers employees a hands-on experience where they can work together as a team. “We found Kids’ Food Basket through our contact at United Way. Our employees are very supportive of United Way every year through their donations.  This project extends that support in a way that gives employees the opportunity to connect with an organization, and with each other, on a more personal level.” 

The project is making an impression.  “The experience is much more impactful than we expected it to be,” says Sheridan. “When you help make thousands of bags of food and then you realize that they will all be distributed in just one day, it really makes the issue of childhood hunger in our community more visible. Our employees tell us they walk away from the experience feeling that they are making a real difference.” 


Sparks Belting Company, Inc. is an internationally recognized conveyor belt manufacturer, fabricator and distributor. Sparks offers customized conveyor belting and motorized pulleys for a variety of industrial applications including package handling, food, agricultural, bakery, construction, and building material products.  Founded in 1946, Sparks has facilities located in Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Mexico. More information is available at