The Food Bank Council of Michigan will use a grant from Feeding America to help address food insecurity among senior citizens in West Michigan. The pandemic exacerbated food insecurity – GrantWatch has lots of grants related to the topic. The Food Bank Council will use this $200,000 grant to launch a pilot program for delivery service. For the first iteration, the organization will partner with Department of Health and Human Services officials and three local food banks in Detroit, Battle Creek and Ann Arbor.
“We know that there are a lot more seniors and individuals with disabilities in need of food which either can’t get to grocery stores to shop for themselves or can’t afford food or aren’t eligible for benefits,” said Dawn Opel, director of research and strategic initiatives for the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “They may live in a rural area and may be very far from food access.”
Bringing Food to Seniors Who Need It
The Food Bank Council of Michigan is a trade association representing all seven food banks across the state.
This kind of program should benefit seniors in food insecure situations. Worse, some senior citizens are at risk for food insecurity for multiple reasons.
Among those reasons:
- Low SNAP employment rates. According to Feeding America, as few as 45% of eligible seniors are enrolled in supplementary food programs.
- Seniors who live in rural areas. In rural areas, the inability to drive or lack of access to a vehicle hinders food security. Many rural areas don’t have enough grocery stores close enough, and there may not be enough public transportation. This is especially the case in places like West Michigan.
One of the reasons the pandemic made food insecurity worse was that many seniors avoided congregant areas. Because of their increased risk of contracting COVID-19, they may have avoided grocery stores to avoid contracting the virus. Unfortunately, this limited their options when it came to food sourcing, especially in rural locations.
The goal of this pilot program is to eventually program with the state’s aging and adult services agency and create a similar program to the Meals on Wheels program.
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