Feed the Need: In Search of Hunger Heroes!

In Michigan, 1,369,250 people are struggling with hunger – and of them, 345,130 are children. In fact, according to the Feeding America network’s 2017 study, people facing hunger in Michigan are estimated to report needing $652,838,000 more per year to meet their food needs.

So, a small group of amazing people gathered last week in Alpena to discuss the fact that Hunger Action Awareness Month (September) is quickly approaching, and there are still too many people going hungry in their community. Within two hours, these changemakers from organizations like the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Northeast Michigan Community Foundation, Boys and Girls Club of Alpena, and Taste the Local Difference determined they needed 12 sponsors to each fund a semi-truck filled with free food every month, for a year, for community residents that need food assistance. Within hours of the initial meeting, the Lappan Agency and Farm Bureau Agency stepped up to sponsor one month each! And they’re challenging other businesses in the area to do the same. (That leaves only 10 more spots!)

For just $1,200, a business can sponsor a truck loaded with 18-24 pallets of food, which can feed about 400 families in need, and provide over 300,000 meals. The goal is to get a truck to Alpena once a month for a year. If the pilot program works, the group hopes to move the initiative to other counties in the Northeast. The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan distributes over 28 million pounds of food, through a network of over 700 Hunger Relief Partners in 22 counties. I know the people involved in this project are excited to work with incredible sponsors over the next year (and beyond) to help with that initiative and to guarantee there will be fewer children going hungry. 

If your business is interested in sponsoring a truck or volunteering for a food distribution, please contact Melissa Burns, the Regional Outreach Coordinator at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. You can call or email: (810) 922-1187, [email protected] to make a pledge. 

Molly Stepanski is the Local Food Coordinator for northeast Michigan. She enjoys reading with her six year old, planting and hiking in the dirt, cooking up her own recipes, drinking farmhouse cider, and eating lots of fresh, seasonal produce (and anything deep-fried, in accordance with her southern heritage). She owns and operates Presque Isle Farm with her family and is a founding member of the Huron Shores Local Food Coalition. Contact her at [email protected]