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I don’t know about you, but I have never been food insecure, nor have most of my friends and family, but I know hunger is a key need in my community thanks to the work of Feeding America, Kids’ Food Basket, and the network of shelters and pantries that are leveraging volunteering and donated resources to meet these pressing needs in my hometown.
Based on information from my local food bank:
-46% of clients served have had to choose between food and paying utility bills
-37% have had to choose between buying food and paying their rent or mortgage
-30% have had to choose between food and medicine or medical care
Among these households, 40% of the individuals are children under 18, about 8% are under age 5 and another 8% are elderly. Almost a third (31%) report having at least one household member in poor health.
This past week I had the privilege of volunteering with my local Feeding America. I’ve probably heard their message 15+ times while I was working to connect schools with service-learning opportunities, but each time I am floored by the need that exists and how the community, with all of its moving parts, works to fill it.
Here’s a diagram of how they make the magic happen!
Pretty Impressive Huh? The old adage of many hands make light work could not be any more true for hunger work in our community, and you can get your hands involved by contacting the member of the Michigan Council of Food Banks nearest you! I’ve gleaned apples from an apple orchard, packaged cereal, sorted new shipments of meat, frozen, fresh, and baked goods, and at times sorted through potatoes and watermelons to make sure only the fresh produce is going to families. The work can be tiring, and at times you get a little messy, but there’s no better feeling than to know your hard work is literally making a difference in a local family’s life.
Also, I forgot to mention… before you donate canned peas and soup to your local food pantry, take a look at what $10 donated to Feeding America can do, as opposed to buying items at your local grocery store!
Take a look to see what may be happening in the month of September in your community to promote awareness about food insecurity, and events where you and your family may be able to get involved in fighting hunger! Maybe, if there is a void, you could be the one to organize something for next year!