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Feeding America West Michigan wants your help during Hunger Action Month

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Feeding America

Feeding America West Michigan estimates that one in six people in its 40-county service area are facing hunger. The numbers show a significant difference from the estimated one in eight facing hunger before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Food shouldn’t be an impossible choice and it has been for so many people in the last year and a half,” Molly Kooi, Communications Manager for Feeding America West Michigan said, “For thousands of people in West Michigan and the UP a daily meal isn’t a choice between different dishes it’s a choice between food and other crucial needs."

Kooi understands the difficulties of food access first-hand. Her first involvement with Feeding America was as a community member, in line at one of the organization's mobile food banks.

“I was one of the people who was helped. I was a single mom when I first learned about the food bank and needed some help with food. So I’ve seen it help, and help other people," she said.

In Kooi's opinion, the largest resource Feeding America offers is its mobile food pantries, where its brings fresh produce into communities. During the pandemic, Feeding America West Michigan grew the program by 28%, with a 64% increase in attendance. Of the around 58,000 individuals it was able to serve, most were seniors and children.

"Typically in those areas fresh produce and dairy are harder to get, especially if you were to go to a normal food pantry, so we try really hard to get those nutritious foods into the communities that need them," Kooi said.

During September’s Hunger Action Month Feeding America is encouraging communities to get involved, whether that means making a donation, volunteering or even sharing a social media post. For more information efforts during Hunger Action Month, click here.