Feeding America West Michigan is one of 200 food banks in Feeding America’s nationwide network. It is one of seven Feeding America member food banks located in Michigan. Feeding America West Michigan serves 40 of Michigan’s 83 counties. Its service area spans from the Indiana border north through the western half of the state and extends throughout the entire Upper Peninsula.
A community in which all neighbors are nourished and empowered within an equitable food system.
To gather and distribute food to relieve hunger and increase food security in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.
The organization was founded on April 23, 1981 as Gleaners Food Bank of West Michigan, Inc. During its early years, the food bank distributed 8,000 pounds of food per month out of a small rented space in southwest Grand Rapids. Since that time, the organization has moved to its main warehouse in Comstock Park and has added two branches, one in Cadillac and the other in Benton Harbor. The food bank has grown into an organization that distributes millions of pounds of food each year through its network of more than 900 agency and Mobile Pantry partners, and four distribution organizations including Manna Food Project, Food Rescue, Family Network of Wyoming and the Western Upper Peninsula Food Bank. In 2019, Feeding America West Michigan distributed 25.3 million pounds of food – equivalent to 20 million meals.
How it works
Feeding America West Michigan serves community members by way of its agency and Mobile Pantry partners. The food bank exists to source food and distribute it throughout the charitable food system in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Food banks like Feeding America West Michigan are essentially the hub from which many hunger-relief efforts stem.
In order to provide food for the hunger-relief agencies that need it, the food bank rescues, sorts, repackages, stores and distributes surplus food from hundreds of generous farmers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Excess food exists for various reasons and can be found at any point in the food system supply chain. Some of these reasons include: bumper crops, package misprints, transportation issues, imperfect aesthetics and over-ordering. Without food banks diverting this good food to people in need, it would instead end up in landfills.
Roughly one-third of the food Feeding America West Michigan distributes is fresh produce. The rest of the food is made up of meat, dairy, baked, frozen and non-perishable goods . If you work in the food or agriculture industries and are curious about donating your surplus product, contact Jerry Knapp at JerryK@FeedWM.org to learn more. For every dollar donated, the food bank can provide 4 meals for people in need.