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Demand at food banks continues to be great in new year

Flint-Saginaw-Bay City WJRT logo Flint-Saginaw-Bay City WJRT 2/23/2021 Cheri Hardmon
Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. © Provided by Flint-Saginaw-Bay City WJRT Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) -(02/23/21)-Putting food on the table has become increasingly harder for many families in Michigan as the state continues to fight against the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re seeing the need for about 14% of the population in our service area to over 40% of the population of our service area really needing help in being insecure,” said Food Bank Of Eastern Michigan, President and CEO, Kara Ross.

Kara Ross is with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. She says many of those that have visited food banks over the last year, have done so for the very first time.

“We saw our distribution increase tremendously during 2020, we tapped over 50 million pounds, compared to the year before that was just around 30.

“Unlike a hurricane, or natural disaster, this is happening across our entire country. So supplies can be limited from time to time, especially when there’s, you know, the consumer, going to the grocery store and doing that massive bind kind of stock up and all those type of periods of time and really put a challenge on moving across the nation,”

The shortage of available goods means the food bank has to get creative when making sure there is enough to meet the needs of the 22 counties they serve.

“And a lot of the food we get, especially this time of year, when we don’t have Michigan farmers to count on in terms of fresh produce. We’re going out of state and shipping that from as far away as Texas, North Carolina to bring food into our region,” she said.

Ross says those efforts-- aren’t likely to decrease anytime soon.

“We know we are going to continue that level of work throughout this year,” Ross said.

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