COMSTOCK PARK, Mich., July 6, 2022 — Feeding America West Michigan received $39,137 from the Conagra Brands Foundation to support the advancement of efforts to address disparities in food access across West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.
This significant grant will enable the food bank to improve its current diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies, ultimately increasing and improving services to regions most affected by disparities.
Funds have so far covered the cost of consulting performed by Inclusive Performance Strategies (IPS), which have included a survey of food bank staff. Additionally, the food bank has formed a DEI committee, which is identifying and addressing barriers for all staff, hunger-relief partners and neighbors in need.
Going forward, the food bank aims to use knowledge acquired through the IPS consultation, as well as remaining funds from the Conagra Brands Foundation, to develop new partnerships in regions facing racial disparities.
In West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, the racial disparity is clear when looking at the poverty rate. On average, across the 40 counties the food bank serves, 10.6 percent of white people, 30.9 percent of Black people, 21.9 percent of Latino people and 23 percent of Native American people experience poverty. Poverty is a key indicator of food insecurity.
“Hunger affects people from all walks of life in every county of the United States, including all 40 counties in our service area,” said Kenneth Estelle, president and CEO of Feeding America West Michigan. “With the Conagra Brands Foundation’s commitment, we will be able to better serve neighbors who may not know where they will find their next meal.”
About Feeding America West Michigan
Serving local families in need since 1981, Feeding America West Michigan reclaims millions of meals’ worth of safe, surplus food from various sources. With the help of countless volunteers, the food bank sorts, stores and distributes this food through a network of more than 700 partners to fill hundreds of thousands of neighbors’ plates instead of landfills. The food bank’s service area consists of 40 of Michigan’s 83 counties from the Indiana border north through the Upper Peninsula. For more information, visit FeedWM.org or call 616-784-3250.