FLINT — September is Hunger Action Month nationally. The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan does several events this month to raise awareness for people in need, but they’ve had to modify many due to COVID-19.
The annual Empty Bowls event is still taking place, which is a partnership with the Flint Institute of Arts, has changed to a drive-through format, so people can still get a bowl made by an artist and support feeding the hungry in our service area. That event is Sept. 17 – details can be found at: one. bidpal.net/veb/welcome
The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan is unable to accept volunteers, but the Michigan National Guard has been deployed here for the fall to help them sort and process food.
Before COVID, there were approximately 200,000 people who struggle with hunger in the 22 counties we serve (including 50,000 kids), so it was already a huge challenge here.
Michigan has been one of the hardest-hit states for unemployment during the pandemic. The FBEM has distributed 26.4 million pounds of food since mid-March. That’s a 95 percent increase over the same period of time last year.
Also, because of the unemployment rate, many people are looking for emergency food services for the first time and don’t know how to find their local food pantries or other sources. — G.G.