Tracy Breihof is a Nourish Tomorrow advancement campaign cabinet member and donor. Below, she shares with us how she first got connected to the food bank and why giving to this campaign means so much to her.
What was your first experience with Feeding America West Michigan?
I was first introduced to the food bank through my employer, Ameriprise Financial. They sponsor an annual National Day of Giving program that is partnered with Feeding America across the country. Through this program, I volunteered at the warehouse in Comstock Park.
What surprised you most when learning about food insecurity in our community?
When I read that 1 in 8 people do not have reliable access to healthy food, I was astonished. What I was also unaware of are all the hunger relief programs the food bank partners with. I witnessed the workings of a Mobile Food Pantry, just one of the many ways food is being brought to areas in need, and I was so impressed by the grace and dignity given to the recipients by the staff and volunteers. It turned out to be more heartwarming than I had anticipated.
Why did you join the Nourish Tomorrow advancement campaign cabinet?
During the pandemic, I read an article discussing the increased number of people experiencing food insecurity that had never before been in that situation. That made me think of all the adults and children who were already food insecure and how this must be adding additional stress—not only to families, but to the organizations trying to feed everyone in need.
I donated to the food bank and took a tour of the facility. I was asked to join the cabinet soon after and I am honored to be involved!
You donated to the Nourish Tomorrow campaign in honor of your husband, who has passed. Can you tell us about that?
Tom was very philanthropic with organizations, his employees and people he knew personally. If he heard someone needed a new roof, a hearing aid or a plane ticket to see a new grandchild, he was that person who always stepped in to help. Organizations knew they could contact him, and he always made himself available for whatever was needed. He was extremely humble, had a huge heart and a calling to give back to his community. Donating in his name is a way to keep his memory and beautiful giving spirit alive.
Why donate to the advancement campaign?
We need organizations like the food bank to provide the fundamental right of healthy food, as we know hunger can negatively affect child development, health, education and social development of entire communities. This campaign is so important on so many levels.