As the economy struggles to bounce back, food banks are faced with overwhelming need. The food Bank Council of Michigan tells us 1.1 million people were served in 2010, 1.6 million in 2011, and this year they are expecting even more.
The food is flying off the shelves, quite literally at Our Savior Lutheran Food Bank in Lansing. Director Sharon Miller says their serving more people than ever. They get orders from the Greater Lansing Food Bank to fill and their usual 12 has grown to more than 30. That's 30 families, not people, families with 3 or 4 children.
Miller says “one Friday I couldn't open at all because I ran out of food, another one I could only serve half of the people because I didn't have enough.” For the first time in 14 years, Sharon Miller had to shut her doors. The shelves in the extra storage room are usually full on Monday. But by the end of the week, they were empty, telling a tale of just how many are in need.
Executive Director Kiareeman El-Amin of the Food Bank Council of Michigan says “the reality is people are making choices that we never thought most of the general public in this country would have to make, do I pay the house note, do I pay the light bill of do I buy food?” The Food Bank Council of Michigan says the dynamic of those seeking help has changed.
Miller echoes that saying “a lot of people who used to donate are actually coming to get food now.” A testament to families and a job market continuing to recover. Miller says “it about breaks your heart when a little kid stands in front of that counter where we sign them in and they get excited because they got a box of cereal.” It's a pair of helping hands, people continue to depend on.
To find out what you can do to donate food and help in the fight against hunger in Mid-Michigan, check out this link: http://www.fbcmich.org/site/PageServer