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.

Meet Up and Eat Up

The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, also known as Meet Up and Eat Up, provides nutritious meals and snacks for kids at risk of hunger all summer long. We administer this program in some regions of our service area with the help of our Meet Up and Eat Up partners. The food bank handles the logistics and the Meet Up and Eat Up partner serves the food.