Full hearts and full stomachs. That was the goal behind the Lake Trust Foundation’s Meals for Michigan initiative. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, by the end of 2020, there was increased need for food in our communities. According to a survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in December of 2020, 15.1% of households in Michigan said there was either sometimes or often not enough to eat in the past week.1
When the Meals For Michigan program first launched, the initial goal was to raise enough money to provide 225,000 meals to food insecure people in Michigan. Together with Lake Trust members, employees, and wider communities across Michigan enough donations were collected to be able to provide meals to eight different food banks in Michigan for a total of 304,770 meals.
The Power of a Dollar
Many food banks rely on volunteers, capital campaigns, and donations to keep their operations going and continue to help those struggling in our communities. Partnerships between the USDA, food rescues, and other federal programs allow food banks to stretch the value of every dollar to create the biggest impact.
For every ten dollars donated to the Meals for Michigan initiative, thirty meals are provided for those in need. In addition, because of the number of food relief agencies (like smaller food pantries that the food banks supply), the impact of our members, employees, and community partners is able to reach even further, empowering more communities.
Learn more about each of the food banks who received funds through our Meals for Michigan program.
Food Bank of Eastern MI
Started in 1981, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan serves 22 counties in Michigan, storing and distributing food to hunger-relief nonprofits and organizations. Each year more than 51 million pounds of food is distributed to over 331,000 people who need food assistance in eastern Michigan. Partners of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan include soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and food pantries.
South Michigan Food Bank
The South Michigan Food Bank partners with schools, churches, food pantries and other distribution sites in eight counties in southern Michigan. Since 1982, they have helped distribute millions of pounds of food every year to those in need throughout the counties they serve.
Based in Washtenaw County, Food Gatherers has been working to provide food relief and eliminate causes of food insecurity since its establishment in 1988. With a focus on distributing more accessible healthy food, Food Gatherers partners with schools, community clinics, and healthcare providers to tackle the problem of food insecurity within the community. Last year they were able to provide 9 million pounds of food, which is approximately 7.5 million meals.
Established in 1977, Gleaners Community Food Bank partners with over 660 soup kitchens, shelters, food pantries, and other food distribution agencies across southeastern Michigan to feed those in need. Gleaners has five distribution centers across its service area that helped to distribute almost 64 million pounds of food in 2020.
Forgotten Harvest is a food rescue that sources food surpluses and donations to deliver to food-relief nonprofits in metro Detroit. For over thirty years, they have been working to provide nutritious food to food insecure and struggling families. Recently, they have expanded to growing their own fresh food for those who need it. Each day, they deliver 144,000 pounds of food to local nonprofits.
Greater Lansing Food Bank
The Greater Lansing Food Bank serves seven counties in Michigan through its food rescue and distribution efforts, food donations, gardens, and partnerships with food pantries and other agencies. Last year, thanks to the efforts of the food bank and the greater mid-Michigan communities, over 9.6 million pounds of food, which roughly equates to 7,767,463 meals, were provided to those in need through the Greater Lansing Food Bank.
Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes
Established in the early 1980s, the Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes is a food bank serving its neighbors in need throughout Kalamazoo County. On average, Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes provides 700 people a day with groceries through its five food programs and 77 distribution partners. Last year they were able to fill grocery orders for over 28,000 individuals through their Grocery Pantry Program alone.
Feeding America West Michigan
Located in Comstock Park, Feeding America West Michigan provides food to 40 out of 83 counties in Michigan, including the entire Upper Peninsula. As part of a network of more than 900 partners and four distribution organizations, Feeding America West Michigan provided over 20 million meals to people in Michigan in 2019.
You Can Make An Impact Too
The Lake Trust Foundation exists to be able to address issues like food insecurity in Michigan, and to be able to make an impact in the lives of individuals, families, and our communities. The Foundation can only create these opportunities thanks to support and donations from Lake Trust members, employees, and community partners. By working together with our neighbors and supporters, we have the power to overcome challenges, create positive changes, and inspire hope. Impact takes all of us.
Check out our other blog articles to learn more about how the Lake Trust Foundation is making an impact in Michigan. You can also visit the Foundation page on our website to make a donation.