Food Bank Council of Michigan Visits Traverse City Food Rescue
Organizations meet to push for passage of Senate Bill 885
Food banks across the state are looking to provide healthier, and more local, options. And they’re hoping state lawmakers can help.
The Food Bank Council of Michigan made a stop in Traverse City on Thursday, to talk about millions of dollars in potential funding for food pantries. A proposed bill in the Michigan Senate contains a line item that would provide an extra $15 million for food banks throughout the state.
“There is a $15 million dollar line-item in that will allow the Food Bank Council and our network to purchase Michigan products to get us through the cold winter,” Dr. Phil Knight, Executive Director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, says. “We all know inflation is really creating a lot of hardship for families. If they’re already struggling with more month than money, we really need to come along side of them as a country, as a state, and as a community.”
With inflation driving up the price of groceries and creating hardships for many families, Knight says, “We have about 1.1 million people, about 10-11% of the population here in Michigan that struggle under that toxic stress of food insecurity. That means they’re not really sure where their next food is coming from. We want to take hunger off the table and replace it with access to food, the healthy food that folks want and need.”
Goodwill’s Food Rescue program says they deliver 7,000 pounds of food every day in the five-county Grand Traverse region. Director and Food Rescue Manager Taylor Moore says more funding could help with fresh produce and higher quality options for families in need. “We want all of our families in the five counties that we serve to be sitting down for a meal at Thanksgiving with the vegetables, the pie, the turkey. And enjoying it like everyone else. We all gather around food at this time and to imagine that some of our neighbors would go without is sad.”
“There are federal programs that are designed to help us meet this food insecurity need. We need to make sure those are working for everybody’s good at top efficiency,” Knight adds.
Panel Members in the discussion included (Left to Right) Jim Bardenhagen of Bardenhagen Farms (and MSU Extension Director Emeritus), Taylor Moore with Food Rescue, Val Stone of the Northwest Food Coalition, State Senator Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City), Phil Night of the Food Bank Council, and Sarah Eichberger, public health nutritionist at MSU Extension.