FAQs from neighbors in need

Where can people go to get food? What programs are available in my area?

If someone is in need of food, our Find Food page is a good place to start. Neighbors in need can also call 2-1-1 for help. 

Who can get food from the food bank?

Our food bank partners with agencies across West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula to serve neighbors in need. Depending on the type of program, different restrictions may apply. For example, anyone can receive food from a Mobile Food Pantry. Some of our partner food pantries and meal programs have income or geographic restrictions or serve a specific demographic, but generally, if you seek food from one of our hunger-relief partners, you will be served.   

How can everyone be sure the food is safe?

Our staff and volunteers work hard to ensure the food we provide to our partners is safe to eat. We check all items against food safety guidelines, but the large scale of our operation means, at times, an aging head of lettuce or spoiled carton of milk may exit our doors. If you receive something that appears to be expired, check the Food Keeper App to see if it’s still safe to eat. Also, keep an eye out at your local pantry for postings about recalled food. Did you know that many food items are safe to consume long past their best by dates? This is because food manufacturers typically err on the extreme safe side with expiration dates. You can contact the food bank’s Food Safety Officer, Denise Sweet, with questions at DeniseS@FeedWM.org. 

Can I attend a Mobile Pantry outside of my county/city limits? 

Yes, you may attend any Mobile Food Pantries that are convenient for you. Unlike traditional food pantries, Mobile Pantries don’t have requirements—all they ask is that you confirm your need. 

Is there a limit to how many Mobile Pantries I can attend? 

No, no one is keeping track of your attendance. You may attend Mobile Pantries as often or as little as you need to. 

What will I receive at a Mobile Pantry? 

Every Mobile Pantry provides fresh produce and dairy products, but the specific items depend on season, availability and donations. Some of these food distributions also provide baked goods and/or protein, such as frozen chicken or canned salmon. At each Mobile Pantry, you’ll receive 9 to 11 items, which will equal around 4 or 5 days of supplemental food.  

Are there any hunger-relief programs that deliver food? 

Yes, there are various hunger-relief programs across West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula that deliver food. To find out if any traditional pantries near you are among them, visit FeedWM.org/FindFood and reach out to the organizations near you directly to ask. Or, see if there’s a Meals on Wheels chapter nearby. These provide seniors who can’t leave home with ready-to-eat meals. Also consider calling 2-1-1 to ask for recommendations.

In some rural communities, the local bus system picks up food from Mobile Pantries to deliver to neighbors who cannot drive themselves. To find out if your local Mobile Pantry host site offers this, you will need to reach out to the sites on FeedWM.org/FindFood directly. 

Can someone pick up food for me? / Can I pick up food for someone else? 

Most Mobile Food Pantry sites allow “proxy pick-ups” but may have some restrictions—e.g. only allowing each car to pick up for three households. Be sure to call or check the website or social media pages of the Mobile Pantry host site you will be visiting to learn their requirements. In order to pick up for someone else, you must be able to provide their name, address and number of people in household—this data is kept anonymous and used only to gauge community need. 

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