Hunger-Relief Programs in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula

As a food bank, Feeding America West Michigan gathers millions of pounds of food each year and distributes it to neighbors facing hunger throughout West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The food is distributed by way of various hunger-relief programs. Here are some of the main ways food ends up on our neighbors’ plates.

Agency Partners’ Programs

Feeding America West Michigan provides food for all of the following types of hunger-relief programs run by our agency partners. Click here to learn how to become one of our agency partners.

Food Pantries

Neighbors facing hunger who live in a food pantry’s service area can “shop” for groceries, usually monthly or bimonthly. Food pantries exist at churches, schools, universities and various social service organizations.

Residential Programs

Various residential programs – such as adult foster care, addiction recovery, senior care and shelters – use the food bank to supply food for the residents they serve.

Meal Sites

Meal sites provide ready-to-eat meals for neighbors facing hunger, often on a consistent basis. These meals offer populations facing hunger – including seniors and those struggling with homelessness – a chance to eat and socialize.

Youth Programs

There are numerous programs that aim to end childhood hunger. Some of the most common are:

  • Backpack programs, which provide after-school or weekend meals
  • Snack programs, which provide snacks for kids, typically at schools or in conjunction with an event of some kind
  • Reduced-price summer camps, which utilize the food bank to offset their food costs in order to provide larger discounts for families experiencing poverty

Food Clubs

Qualifying community members can pay a small monthly fee to become a member of a food club. This membership enables them to “grocery shop” on a point system. We currently work with two food clubs: The Community Food Club in Grand Rapids and the Lakeshore Food Club in Ludington.

Other Programs

Mobile Food Pantries

Feeding America West Michigan’s Mobile Food Pantry program brings an abundance of nutritious food to communities in need, year-round. We fill our trucks with 5,000-20,000 lbs. of food – at least half of which is produce – and drive them to locations across our service area for community food distributions. Our Mobile Pantry partners, such as schools, churches and community centers host 100+ Mobile Food Pantries each month. Click here to learn more about this program, here to access the schedule or here to learn how to become one of the food bank’s Mobile Pantry partners.

Library Lunches to Go

Feeding America West Michigan partners with the Kent District Library to provide summer meals to children in the community. Shelf-stable lunches from the food bank are served at 15 branch locations and 4 stops on the Bookmobile’s delivery route. These meals are provided at no cost to local children 18 and under throughout the summer. There are no requirements for families to access this program; simply head to the closest participating branch location during their set meal service time and enjoy. There is no need to pre-register and no sign-up is required. For a schedule of participating branch locations and service times, click here. This program is generously funded by grants and local donations.