COMSTOCK PARK, Mich., Dec. 16, 2019 — Meijer and Hormel Foods donated 2,250 hams to Feeding America West Michigan on Dec. 16 through the Hams for Hunger program. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made an appearance to celebrate the donation and to pass out hams during her visit.
Feeding America West Michigan will distribute the remaining hams throughout their network of more than 800 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other hunger-relief agencies in 40 of Michigan’s 83 counties.
“Today Feeding America West Michigan, Meijer, and Hormel have set a great example to individuals and businesses across the state during this holiday season,” said Governor Whitmer. “As a lifelong Michigander I know what it means to be connected with my community and state. Whenever we can, we must lend a helping hand and give back to those in need.”
In West Michigan, 1 in 8 people face hunger. Among children, that number is higher: 1 in 7 are at risk. Those struggling with food insecurity must often choose between paying for food and other necessities. Protein sources like ham are hard for these neighbors to afford.
“These hams will provide some normalcy for families facing hunger by providing them with the foundation of a holiday meal,” said Kenneth Estelle, the food bank’s president and CEO. “We are grateful to Meijer and Hormel Foods for their amazing donation, and we appreciate Gov. Whitmer’s support of our work!”
Meijer is a longstanding supporter of Feeding America West Michigan. With nearly 40 stores in the food bank’s service area, Meijer donated more than 1.8 million pounds of food to Feeding America West Michigan in 2018. Currently, Meijer is the food bank’s top retail donor.
In addition to food donations, Meijer has also provided the food bank with pre-owned trucks and other equipment on various occasions.
“Meijer is a grocery store first, so food is at the core of what we do and the focus of our giving efforts,” said Amanda McVay, group vice president of grocery at Meijer and Feeding America West Michigan board member. “No one deserves to go without, especially during the holiday season. We are pleased to partner with Hormel Foods to support local food pantries.”
Fighting hunger has been a focus area in Gov. Whitmer’s short tenure. She implemented a policy change that increased access to food assistance for low-income families, and she heads a coalition of governors who oppose a USDA bill that, if implemented, would cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for thousands of families in Michigan.
“SNAP is the first line of defense against hunger,” said Estelle.
Limited access to nutritious food increases the risk of many chronic diseases including type two diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity. Food insecurity also affects neighbors’ already limited finances. A recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, in Michigan, the annual health care costs of food-insecure adults are approximately $1,927 more than their food-secure counterparts. Therefore, food insecurity equates to more than $1.8 billion in additional annual health care costs in the state.
“When federal food assistance programs, hunger-relief organizations and philanthropic businesses like Meijer and Hormel Foods work simultaneously to end hunger, we can positively impact our neighbors’ health and in turn, reduce health care costs,” said Estelle.
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 more than 800 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other hunger-relief agencies in 40 of Michigan’s 83 counties on the west side of the state from the Indiana border through the Upper Peninsula. For more information, visit FeedWM.org or call 616-784-3250.
Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates more than 245 supercenters throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. A privately-owned and family-operated company since 1934, Meijer pioneered the “one-stop shopping” concept and has evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive apparel departments, pet departments, garden centers, toys and electronics. For additional information on Meijer, please visit www.meijer.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/Meijer and @twitter.com/MeijerPR or become a fan at www.facebook.com/meijer.
About Hormel Foods — Inspired People. Inspired Food.™
Hormel Foods Corporation, based in Austin, Minn., is a global branded food company with over $9 billion in annual revenue across more than 80 countries worldwide. Its brands include SKIPPY®, SPAM®, Hormel® Natural Choice®, Applegate®, Justin’s®, Wholly®, Hormel® Black Label®, Columbus® and more than 30 other beloved brands. The company is a member of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats, was named on the “Global 2000 World’s Best Employers” list by Forbes magazine for three straight years, is one of Fortune magazine’s most admired companies, has appeared on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “The 100 Best Corporate Citizens” list for the 11th year in a row, and has received numerous other awards and accolades for its corporate responsibility and community service efforts. The company lives by its purpose statement — Inspired People. Inspired Food.™ — to bring some of the world’s most trusted and iconic brands to tables across the globe. For more information, visit www.hormelfoods.com and http://csr.hormelfoods.com/.