Free Food Program to Help Families in Need
5,000 pounds of food was handed out in Lake County today.
This team effort is going to help hundreds of families in need.
Feeding America partnered with Baldwin Schools in Lake County to host a mobile food pantry and today was the second month of distribution.
“It kind of happened by chance,” says Stiles Simmons, superintendent at Baldwin Schools.
Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank reached out to Baldwin Schools offering them a chance to make a difference. “Child hunger extends well beyond Lake County and so the Feeding America program is a solution to ending child hunger,” says Simmons.
Lake County is known as one of the poorest counties in Michigan and with a growing number of people in need, the school superintendent says they needed a program like this. Simmons says, “It’s was a no-brainer but I was a little skeptical because I’m thinking what this is almost too good to be true, what strings are attached but after we went through this our first time, it was like wow this is really amazing.”
The partnership just started last month, giving free food to more than 60 families in need. Today, they saw about 50 families walk away with armfuls of food. “Baldwin is proven to be the poorest community in Michigan and around here you, you gotta do what you gotta do to survive,” says Shaun Munson, food participant.
Feeding America is helping 18 schools and 3 senior centers across the state with the help of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. “It’s a proven fact that grades are tied to children’s nutrition and the idea of the grant is to provide nutrition education to children and to families, kind of change that way of thinking with older habits with eating and kind of introduce a healthier lifestyle,” says Ryan VanMaldegen, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank.
Many of the people helped today say they hope more families will jump on board and take advantage of this great opportunity. “That extra money you’re saving for the gas or the food that you’re spending, you can pay off your bills and then it helps you get out of that financial crisis,” says Munson.
The partnership will continue for the next two years and hand out food on every third Friday of every month.