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13 Food for Families

Help families in Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Muskegon Counties that are struggling to find food.

A big thank you to everyone who was able to donate to the 13 FOOD FOR FAMILIES campaign. A little over two months ago we reached out asking to help 13 ON YOUR SIDE have a meaningful impact on people faced with the difficult choice between paying the bills or putting food on the table. And people reached back, opening their hearts and their wallets, and because of their generosity--donating over $30,000--Access of West Michigan, United Way of the Lakeshore, and Community Action House will have a greater impact in their communities. Thank you again for what you’ve done. If you want to get more involved in these organizations, connect with them below:

Credit: 13 OYS

Your donations helped three local organizations serving Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Muskegon Counties:

Access of West Michigan

The Food for Families Campaign is investing in both emergency needs and long term solutions that are needed for families across West Michigan. COVID-19 has amplified systemic inequities that previously existed in our food system. Families need food today, and also need Access to invest in long term plans to ensure that disparities are addressed through proactive strategy, not a continued emergency response. Our community needs a Good Food System that functions for everyone, especially in times of crisis.  

At Access of West Michigan, their sights are set on transforming West Michigan’s food system to become increasingly reflective of Good Food values with the belief that this transformation will uproot systemic poverty and lead to lasting change. Good Food, as defined by the Michigan Good Food Charter, is food that is fair – no one along the supply chain was exploited for its creation, green – it was produced in an environmentally sustainable manner, healthy – it provides nourishment and enables people to thrive, and affordable – all people have access to it. Access cultivates solutions by sparking creativity and innovation. Examples of their work include the launch of five fresh markets, with a new site beginning its launch this year. Fresh Markets offer affordable access to healthy, local produce from small farms in an equitable, non-charity setting while supporting the Michigan agricultural economy. The Markets are a hybrid of a corner store and a farmers’ market; open year-round, shoppers purchase produce and value-added items at their convenience and can use SNAP, Double Up Food Bucks, and Fresh Food vouchers as well as cash or credit. Access also oversees Refresh Now, a program with two new sites opening this year. It is a food prescription program that improves health for those working to address a major chronic disease or risk factors for a major chronic disease. Access coordinates The Food Pantry Network throughout Kent County, offers food justice trainings, and works hard to collaborate at a systems level to create a thriving food system for all. Learn more at www.accessofwestmichigan.org.       

United Way of the Lakeshore COVID-19 Food Response Fund

United Way of the Lakeshore plans to use the COVID-19 Food Response fund as a grant opportunity for local non-profits providing food to families in in need. The pandemic crisis has had a significant impact on local food pantries, our Meals on Wheels and other served meals programs that included reductions or the ending of distribution and services. Many of our pantries reported a 100% - 300% increase in clients needing food during this COVID 19 impact, many of whom have not had to use a pantry before. Each organization has also incurred additional operational costs in order to provide a safe distribution of the food. This Food Response Fund can make a great impact for these organizations to meet the needs of our vulnerable community members on a greater scale. Thank you for being a part of the greater good that lifts Muskegon County up through this difficult time. Our seniors, children, students, homeless, sick and unemployed need us to band together for their health and safety, and with your help, we will be that much more successful.

In Muskegon County, local non-profits providing food for those in need have been working together to serve our community on a greater scale. A new development of free grocery delivery services and volunteer recruitment for packaging and distribution are a couple of new collaborations impacting our area to safely meet many needs in a safe and orderly fashion. AgeWell Services, Catholic Charities, Mission For Area People, LOVE Inc. and the Salvation Army have been offering Curbside pickups and or meal deliveries, Senior Resources has a shopper program to get groceries safely to seniors, and multiple others, including local churches, are working in new ways to get food into the hands of those in need.  Learn more at www.unitedwaylakeshore.org

Community Action House

Early in the COVID-19 crisis, Community Action House and its peers across West Michigan worked tirelessly to dramatically expand service so that nobody was turned away in their time of need. Their Food assistance expanded over fourfold in late March, providing thousands of meals worth of groceries each day, five days a week through scheduled, curbside assistance, as well as through their new grocery delivery program.

Now, more than ever, Community Action House is committed to providing healthy food to those most in need, delivered with the utmost attention to the safety of all concerned - guests, staff, and volunteers alike. But they’ve never had need increase so dramatically. With huge increases in food purchase and related costs, your participation can help sustain their greatly expanded services in the months to come.

For over 50 years, Community Action House has served our most vulnerable neighbors on the West Michigan lakeshore. Its founders sought to organize a collective response where people and institutions of all perspectives came together to ensure everyone has what they need to reach their potential. They focus their efforts in three interdependent areas: Food Access, Resource Connection, and Financial Wellness, and pride themselves in being a place where people go for the food they need right now, but can leave with a plan for a brighter future, and a partner in that journey. Their emergency response to COVID includes providing increased food assistance via modified delivery at their Food Pantry and Community Kitchen, deploying their Street Outreach team to assist our houseless neighbors, and providing Foreclosure Intervention services. Learn more at https://www.communityactionhouse.org/

This initiative was sponsored by Andy J. Egan Co., Inc.

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