GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - Even as the economy continues to improve, there are still persistent pockets of need in some west Michigan communities.
"It's been real tough for me lately," says Grand Rapids Eastown neighborhood resident Arbry Bradford.
In Eastown, neighbors are helping neighbors get through the tough times with free food.
Eastown Community Association director Lindsey Ruffin says she noticed a food bank truck distributing groceries in another neighborhood and thought, "Why can't we do that for families in Eastown?"
Ruffin says she put a call out to businesses and organizations and soon had enough money for several food distribution dates.
"You come up with $500 and Feeding America supplies a truck loaded with 5,000 pounds of food," she explains. "I sent a call out to Eastown businesses and within about two hours I had raised $1,500. I didn't expect it to be received that well. We have very generous businesses in Eastown."
Groceries distributed from the truck include fresh produce, bread, potatoes and even a few cakes.
"I got watermelon, tomatoes, celery, hot peppers," says Bradford. "That will help me get along in life. Some people still got heart. Some people do."
The East Town Community Association has now raised enough money to buy four trucks full of food.
They had a distribution in July, one on Wednesday and they have others scheduled in September and October.
They figure each person receives enough food to feed a typical family for three or four days.
"I'm just glad we can do it," says Ruffin. "I'm very thankful to our sponsors that we are able to do this for the community."