Why is the County Wide Food Drive an important campaign?
- The County Wide Food Drive is so important because of the huge need in our community. The Access Pantry Network consists of 75 food pantries that serve nearly 20,000 food services to individuals every month. So at some of the larger pantries, they may have around100 families coming in on any given day! Last year the pantries gave 90,000 food services to children - children are at high risk for food insecurity and hunger in our community.
Who are the people that utilize food pantries?
- A large percentage of the families that come into the pantries are entirely new to the system - a recent tragedy has caused them to turn to an emergency source for food. Each person that utilizes the pantry network has a unique story and a unique need. Chronic illness, medical bills, disability, job loss, death in the family, lack of living wages, underemployment, family crisis' are just a few of the issues that can thrust families into situations of need.
- This sudden loss can happen to any of us - no matter what income bracket we are currently in, if we experience an unplanned incident we would be faced with tough decisions about how to quickly reallocate funds and in that process families often find the constant need to buy food as too much. We ask families to utilize the pantries so that they can put their money towards other needs.
Why is it important to donate?
- Food donations are critically important because food pantries are really the first place families go when in a difficult situation. Food is the most basic need and we find that providing food is the gateway to finding other resources for struggling families. That's why it's so important to actually HAVE food on our shelves!
Besides donating, how the community get involved?
- Volunteering! Many volunteers are needed throughout the week. These are great opportunities for families, small groups, youth groups, and individuals. Volunteers are needed to pre-bag and pre-flyer select routes in neighborhoods and at grocery stores to collect food & personal care items.
What are the most needed food items?
- Our pantries are asking you to donate things YOUR family would like to eat - healthy food options such as canned vegetables and fruit that are low in sodium and sugar. Shelf stable items like cereal, rice, pasta, and dried beans are needed staples. Additionally the pantries are always in need of personal care items such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and toilet paper. These are items that are expensive and difficult to come by in the pantries.
Where can donated items be dropped off?
- Donated items can be dropped off at all Kent County Family and D&W Grocery Stores, Duthler Family Foods, Fulton Heights Foods, Forest Hills Foods, Aldi, Walgreens, Mercantile Bank branches, Fifth Third Financial Centers and at any neighborhood food pantry - you can find a full list at www.accessofwestmichigan.org