In the middle of Alger County Michigan, just south of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, neighbors facing hunger accessed the food they needed at two Feeding America West Michigan Mobile Food Pantries, held at the local fairgrounds.
Neighbors in need lined up to receive fresh produce, dairy, protein and other food items at these distributions sponsored by the Alger Regional Community Foundation. Both of these Mobile Pantries provided 12,500 meals worth of food to more than 100 families.
Alger County has fewer than 10,000 residents, but 1 in 7 of these U.P. neighbors struggles with hunger. That statistic is higher for children: 1 in 6 are at risk.
In rural counties like Alger, the beautiful spans of land and forest can intensify food insecurity. Access to grocery stores and transportation are limited. In addition, residents must often drive farther for work and, as a result, allocate more money for gas, leaving less left over for rent, utilities and food. Seniors are especially at risk of isolation and lack of food access.
Mike, who coordinated the food distributions, shared how excited many seniors were to return home and cook with the food they received. Some even planned to can the tomatoes, squash and carrots they received to eat throughout the winter.
“These are the people it is easy to love, and know how to be thankful and love you back,” Mike said.
Thanks to the efforts of many volunteers who worked tirelessly to organize the events, set everything up, pass out all of the food and tear everything back down again, the distributions were able to continue, even amidst harsh weather.
Mike emphasized the value these volunteers brought to the distributions. Even though they received no pay, they put their best foot forward to ensure their neighbors could thrive.
“We all feel honored to serve those in need,” Mike said.
Feeding America West Michigan is proud to provide food for neighbors facing hunger throughout our 40-county service area. Thanks to the help of organizations like the Alger Regional Community Foundation, and stalwart volunteers like those serving Alger County, many neighbors who would have wondered about their next meal, know they’ll have full plates tomorrow.