In 2017, Feeding America West Michigan provided 26.7 million pounds of food to its network of more than 900 partner agencies, including mobile pantries, soup kitchens, child hunger agencies and partner food banks throughout its 40 county service area, which equates to roughly 22.2 million meals.
“We are proud to continue working toward an end to hunger in Michigan,” said Ken Estelle, President and CEO of Feeding America West Michigan. “Hunger is often an unseen issue, and we are happy to do what we can to help those in need. We’re looking forward to reaching more people in need throughout 2018.”
Feeding America West Michigan provides food to an estimated half million people each year through its 900+ partner agencies including its mobile pantry program.
Don and Rachel Wright are two of those who receive food from Feeding America West Michigan. Living in the rural Upper Peninsula and caring for three of their grandchildren, the Wrights receive food from the mobile pantry at the Tahquamenon Area Schools high school, located in the rural town of Newberry.
“We are raising three kids,” Don quipped when asked about how Feeding America West Michigan has helped his family, “and they eat ALL the time.”
The mobile pantry in Newberry is one of approximately 900 partner agencies Feeding America West Michigan supplies with food across 40 Michigan counties. Most of the food that gets distributed throughout West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula is donated to Feeding America West Michigan by farmers, grocers and food manufacturers, with other high-demand items being purchased as needed to supplement donated product.
Healthy food remains a central priority. In 2017, 30% of the food that was distributed to Feeding America West Michigan’s partner agencies was made up of fresh fruits and vegetables.
“As a food bank, we make it a priority to serve food that will nourish and sustain our clients, as well as continuing to make sure good food is not going into landfills.” Estelle said.
In 2018, Feeding America West Michigan is working harder than ever to reach the hungry in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Coming down the pike later this year, the Food Bank will roll out a youth hunger initiative which will focus on feeding youth under the age of 18 who are at risk of going hungry, and continue their innovative new healthy food and nutrition education initiative, Fresh Start.
These exciting new initiatives aren’t without challenges, however. Support is urgently needed to sustain new programming initiatives. The new program areas are necessary as one in eight people in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula still struggle to put food on the table.
“It is our hope that anybody who wishes to help those in their community will consider becoming involved with the food bank,” Estelle said. “When you see the impact that your time and your gifts can have on local families, it’s really incredible.”
To donate, those interested may do so at www.FeedWM.org/donate.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit www.FeedWM.org/volunteer.
Food Insecurity Rates
West Michigan: 12.2%
Upper Peninsula: 14.1%
United States: 15.4%
Feeding America West Michigan Total: 26.7 million pounds (22.2 million meals)
Percentage of Fruits and Vegetables: 30 percent
Number of Food donors: 340+
Individual Volunteers: 1,774
Volunteer Hours: 25,648
New Volunteers: 1,275
About Feeding America West Michigan. Serving local families in need since 1981, Feeding America West Michigan reclaims safe surplus food from farmers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers. That food is distributed through a network of roughly 900 food pantries, youth programs, and other hunger-relief agencies in 40 counties from the Indiana border through the Upper Peninsula. Each year, an estimated half million people receive food from Feeding America West Michigan. For more information, visit FeedWM.org.