Food pantries continue to be stressed by demand

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The 211 Call Center for the United Way is the first place most local people turn to when they don't know where their next meal is coming from. And more calls keep coming in.

According to Maureen Noe, the President /CEO of the Heart of West Michigan United Way, there are more than 100,000 people in Kent County who are considered "food insecure." For the second half of 2013, four food pantries saw a 13% increase in demand and 30,000 additional visits.

"They don't want to turn people away and they won't turn people away. But how do you manage that? Do you give less to more people?" Noe says. Those are the hard choices food pantries will face unless the community rallies around the issue and helps raise resources and awareness.

The "Outnumber Hunger" concert airs this Friday night at 8:00 on WZZM 13 and streams on It will features acts like Florida-Georgia Line, Rascal Flatts and Danielle Bradbury.

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