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Meet a young mother that relies on West Michigan food pantries

The Summer Stock Up is working to replenish West Michigan food pantries to support young mothers like Lakara White.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - For the last three years, Lakara White has relied on food pantries in West Michigan, to help care for her five young kids.

"The times that we’re in now, especially with the pandemic, financially its take a strain on our family," says Lakara. "And us having a big family we’re comfortable in knowing that we have the Summer Stock program to have dinner.”

 Even before to the pandemic, Lakara’s family struggled with homelessness. That’s when she connected with HOAP, Inc., a local nonprofit dedicated to helping young people overcome life’s negative challenges.

The need for food assistance in our region has significantly increased since the pandemic, and right now, more than 20 United Way organizations across the state of Michigan are teaming up for the Summer Stock Up – a month long program to replenish the food pantries that serve families like hers.

“I definitely think it’s a blessing for our family so I’m sure it’s a blessing for many others because in the time that we are in right now, its hard," Lakara says. "Never fee bad about reaching out for help because help is there. They’re there to provide and its also a way to help build you, and it can grow you to get you on your way to where you need to be.”

 Lakara says having the support of the HOAP program and the local food pantries, relieves some of the financial stress, and empowers her to rebuild her life – like starting a business.

“I’m able to spend more time with my children, my husband is able to work, and for the most part, we see ourselves differently now,” she says.

Credit: 13 OYS

To make a monetary donation to the Summer Stock Up, text the word PANTRY to 5-0-5-0-3. You can also bring items in to the station on June 23-24

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