COMSTOCK PARK, Mich., January 23, 2023 — Feeding America West Michigan received $35,714.29 in grant funding from the Conagra Brands Foundation to support equitable food access throughout the 40 counties it serves. The Upper Peninsula is a rural area that is inequitably served due to a plethora of challenges and this grant funding was spent in an effort to begin addressing the disparity.
Because the gaps in service in this rural region are so highly tied to operational capacity, the grant funds were used to purchase a trailer dedicated to expanding direct delivery, depot delivery and Mobile Food Pantries in the Upper Peninsula. All of these distribution methods bring food directly to communities with a high need for food support so people don’t need to travel far away to access the food they need.
In Michigan, the overall food insecurity rate is 11.5%. In the Upper Peninsula, where 100% of the counties are rural, the food insecurity rate is 14%. Living in a rural community comes with certain challenges that make accessing and affording food more difficult, including lack of transportation, distance from grocery stores, jobs that pay low wages and underemployment.
“This clear disparity in service shows a need to increase equity and the food bank believes this trailer is a good step in the right direction,” said Kenneth Estelle, president and CEO of Feeding America West Michigan, “Feeding America West Michigan is immensely grateful for the Conagra Brands Foundation for making this purchase possible through their continued support of our food bank’s equity work.”
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 hundreds of hunger-relief partners to fill 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.