At the United Church of Wayland, located in a small, Allegan County town, a hard-working team of volunteers packs boxes full of fresh produce, protein and dairy each month for neighbors in need. Despite the changing weather in mid-October, the team worked quickly, and a rainbow stretched through the cloudy sky, almost like a reward.
Beverly, a mom of four, was one neighbor waiting in line for food that day. She shared her passion for crafting – each month, she sells homemade “jelly” candles at the local farmers market – and her love for her children. Two are on the autism spectrum, and she devotes much of her time to ensure they succeed in online school.
Recently, Beverly had a serious surgery related to health issues that pulled her from the workforce. Her husband is in a similar situation. But, when she feels healthy enough, Beverly helps out on her parents’ farm – long days, low pay, but a simple way for her to support her elderly parents.
“Money’s really tight all the time,” she said. “I make too much money for food stamps, so it’s like I’m constantly having to scrounge.”
More than 11,000 of Beverly’s neighbors in Allegan County also struggle to put enough food on the table. Her grown-up children are sometimes among them. Being the dedicated mother she is, at times, Beverly sets a place at the table for these children, too.
The family’s limited income doesn’t stretch far enough to cover all their living and medical expenses. Without Mobile Food Pantries and the other food pantries Beverly visits, the family wouldn’t have enough to eat and could suffer detrimental health effects.
“It’s helped me quite a bit,” she said.
Adequate nutrition is essential for the well-being of everyone, especially children and seniors. When people lack access or can’t afford enough healthy food, the health effects – and the costs to society – can be steep.
That’s why government supports such as SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and hunger-relief efforts from the charitable food sector, such as Feeding America West Michigan Mobile Food Pantries, are so essential.
The food bank couldn’t serve neighbors without help from devoted volunteers and support from Perrigo and the Allegan County Community Foundation – organizations that make Mobile Pantries possible. Together, we can end hunger in Allegan County.
Story written by Communication Specialist Juliana Ludema.