GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- Every year during 13 Food For Families, WZZM asks for donations to help local food pantries, but the solution isn't just about giving food, it's about giving the right food for a healthier diet.
Tommy Lee Matthis is one of the 14.1% in Kent County considered to be food insecure, which means he doesn't always know where his next healthy meal is coming from. He goes to the SECOMpantry to find healthy food. "Sometimes it's tough, sometimes you're not able to feed your families and that is what places like this are for," Matthis said.
Last year, pantries across Kent County served over 57,000 residents. "Getting food isn't the problem, getting the right kinds of food -- getting healthy food options for your family and getting nutrition education is a problem," explains Emma Rosauer at Access Kent.
Now that schools are out for the summer, the need for food is greater. "Generally in the summer time we see a big increase because kids are home from school and families have a lot less resources to turn to," Rosauler said.
Pantries need any food you can spare but, this year if you have a choice, please give healthy food.
"We would love it if you donated low-sodium items," explains Rosauer. "Canned items of fruit that are low in sugar, canned items that are low in salt, or other items like beans and rice, and non-sugary cereals."
You should try to avoid Ramen noodles and boxed macaroni and cheese, as these items are considered to be not healthy. 13 Food For Families runs all week and you can give your healthy non-perishable items at one our many drop off locations.