13 Food for Families - An important Community Campaign

2:48 PM, May 20, 2013   |    comments
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Why is 13 Food for Families an important campaign?
13 Food for Families, a food collection initiative, is very important because of the huge need in our West Michigan community. The Access Pantry Network consists of 75 food pantries that serve nearly 20,000 food services to individuals every month. 

In the summer months the serving numbers increase because kids are home from school and families need extra food to feed everyone. Last year the pantries gave 90,000 food services to children - young people are at high risk for food insecurity and hunger in our community.

Who are the people that utilize food pantries?
A large percentage of the families that come into the pantries are entirely new to the system - a recent tragedy has caused them to turn to an emergency source for food. Each person that utilizes the pantry network has a unique story and a unique need. Chronic illness, medical bills, disability, job loss, death in the family, lack of living wages, underemployment, family crisis' are just a few of the issues that can thrust families into situations of need.

This sudden loss can happen to any of us - no matter what income bracket we are currently in, if we experience an unplanned incident we would be faced with tough decisions about how to quickly reallocate funds and in that process families often find the constant need to buy food as too much. We ask families to utilize the pantries so that they can put their money towards other needs.

Why should the community donate?
The community should donate to 13 Food for Families because food pantries are really the first place families go when in a difficult situation. Food is the most basic need and we find that providing food is the gateway to finding other resources for struggling families. That's why it's so important to actually HAVE food on our shelves!

It's important for our community to understand that hunger is not a far off problem - its right here and any of us may at one point be in need of emergency help ourselves. We hope that our community can come alongside the pantries to offer families the food and resources they need to make it through difficult times.

What are the needed food items?
Our pantries are asking you to donate things YOUR family would like to eat - healthy food options such as canned vegetables and fruit that are low in sodium and sugar. Shelf stable items like cereal, rice, pasta, and dried beans are needed staples.

Additionally the pantries are always in need of personal care items such as toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, and toilet paper. These are items that are expensive and difficult to come by in the pantries.

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