Fred Kadushin and Mary Kay Kadushin, who were recently recognized as part of BusinessWest’s Difference Makers Class of 2024 for their charity, Feed the Kids.
Reminder Publishing submitted photo

A Monson couple has been recognized by BusinessWest as examples of how individuals can make a big difference in the world. Fred and Mary Kay Kadushin, co-founders of the charity Feed the Kids, were selected as part of the magazine’s Difference Makers Class of 2024.

“Somebody saw what we did and nominated us,” Fred said. He pointed out that Mary Kay was also a finalist for this year’s 22 News WWLP Remarkable Women of Western Massachusetts. “I’ve known she’s been remarkable for a long time, but they just figured it out,” he said of his wife.

Feed the Kids came about due a coincidence, Fred explained. While listening to a story on NPR, he heard a statistic that one in six children do not have enough food to eat. Mary Kay happened to have heard the same story, and when they saw each other, they talked about the alarming number of food-insecure youth. The two felt they had to do something and, with previous experience in charity golf tournaments, decided to begin a fundraising organization.

“When you think about kids not eating, it’s easy to help,” Fred said.

In the six years since then, Feed the Kids has raised $350,000 to address child hunger directly in the Pioneer Valley. Square One is a Springfield program that provides 500 preschoolers with breakfast, lunch and snacks. Some children may receive breakfast and lunch at school, but lack nutritious food on Saturday and Sunday. For them, the Holyoke School Backpack Program and the Pioneer Valley Powerpacks program in Easthampton and Northampton supply backpacks with nutritious meals that are easy-to-make for students to take home over the weekend.

Some of the funds raised go to No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit lobbyist group. “A lot of this [work] takes place in the government, and we need lobbyists to make sure these programs continue to feed kids in schools,” Fred said. “It’s just so important for people to understand that kids have to eat.”

This year’s golf tournament supporting Feed the Kids will take place on Monday, July 15, at the Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. This year, there will be a $10,000 putting contest and a hole in one contest.

“Someone could win on every hole, including a car,” Fred said.

While some money is raised through the tournament’s registration fees, Fred said much of the fundraising comes from an online auction that will run from July 1-16. The auction includes trips, jewelry, artwork and restaurants or golf course packages. People do not need to attend the tournament to participate in the auction.

All auctioned items are donated to the charity by local sponsors. “We have some great sponsors in the community,” Fred said. Another member of this year’s Difference Makers reached out and donated, as well.

Fred said Feed the Kids is an all-volunteer, no-overhead organization, which allows all proceeds from its fundraisers to be put toward child hunger programs. There are about 15 people who gather sponsors and donations for the charity each year. “I’m very proud that two of my sons are on the board with me,” he shared.

In a press release about the BusinessWest honor, Fred stated, “Mary Kay and I have met so many people who have eagerly volunteered to lend their support, as well as business leaders who provide the much-needed financial backing we need to make a difference. It’s a labor of love that changed our world view and strengthened our relationship with each other and our community.”

To donate items for the auction, contact fkadushin@comcast.net. To learn more about Feed the Kids, visit feedthekidsgolf.com.