Food bankers among unsung heroes

With an additional 1 million school-age children, laid off workers and a growing number needing emergency food, Michigan’s seven regional food banks continue to serve on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The list of heroic leaders who walk through the fire is inspiring … healthcare professionals, firefighters, law enforcement,” said Dr. Phil Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “I want to add our state’s food banks to this list of heroes. Serving all Michigan’s 83 counties, they always are on the front lines in the fight against food insecurity.”

As the full impact of the pandemic continues to emerge, more Michiganders find themselves turning to food banks for assistance. The Food Bank Council of Michigan and its members quickly responded to the immediate needs of school children when Governor Whitmer ordered schools closed through April. Each day, they prepare for the escalating demand while facing a shortage of volunteers to sort and distribute essential food.

“The leaders and teams that make up the Food Bank Council of Michigan have not run into the fire; they live in the fire,” said Knight. “They are there every day, providing emergency food for our hungry neighbors. Perhaps, this is why food banks are rarely listed among heroic first responders. It’s because we are already there.”

For distribution, all food banks have adopted mobile drive-through distributions that limit personal interaction while still distributing emergency food. Pallets of boxed food are set up, team members gather necessary information and resident receive 30-40 pounds of highly nutritional food that equates to 35-40 meals per box.

“Food bankers are public servants who serve every day, all day to fight against kids going to bed hungry and seniors who need to be protected from COVID-19 going too long without proper food. Let’s add these food bank leaders and teams who put their health at risk distributing emergency food during these crucial days to the growing list of America’s best,” said Knight.

To donate, call the Food Bank Council of Michigan at 517.485.1202 or visit https://www.fbcmich.org/covid-19/.

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