Editor’s Note: View Newspaper Group and Genisys Credit Union are proud to partner with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in their HUNGER ACTION MONTH fundraising drive by placing donation envelopes in today’s papers. The following is the final of three articles that provide information about the Food Bank and how even small donations can make a big difference. Please consider donating to this deserving cause.
FLINT — Although the economy continues to recover with jobs and financial markets steadily improving, a significant number of senior citizens still find great difficulty in keeping food on their table. The root cause, or causes, of this noteworthy and distressing predicament can be difficult to identify due to a number of factors. However, regardless of circumstance, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan has taken note of the issue and has made a concerted effort to facilitate in any way they can.
The challenges that seniors face each day can be overwhelming, and can easily prevent elderly men and women from getting to a grocery store, whether they can no longer drive because of physical disability or because they cannot afford a car if they are unable to work. Also, public transportation can pose significant obstacles for seniors suffering from illness or disabilities. The compounding difficulties and hindrances add up quickly and deprive seniors of the nutrition and everyday necessities many of us take for granted.
Kelly Belcher, the marketing and communications manager for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan (FBEM), says that the organization heads a number of programs in order to serve the men, women and children of Eastern Michigan, including seniors, whom they help with their Senior Grocery Box Program.
The Senior Grocery Box Program provides supplemental food boxes to senior citizens each month through annual sponsorship. For $200 an individual, church, business, neighborhood organization, service club, or any group or individual can provide a qualifying senior citizen with 45-50 pounds of food each month, including seasonal fresh produce.
Belcher explained that the Senior Box Program also provides toiletries and hygienic products, including toothpaste, soap, deodorant, and more in order to aid seniors who are on a fixed income and are unable to afford the food and supplies that FBEM can provide to them.
“Right now we have approximately 400 seniors enrolled in the Senior Grocery Box Program,” said Belcher. “We’re thrilled to be able to help these people, but we also have a significant waiting list due to budget constraints. We do what we can with what we have, but we need funding for our programs.”
As of today, FBEM positively impacts more than 43,000 seniors thanks to their variety of programs including the Senior Grocery Box Program, but Belcher and the men and women of FBEM hope to increase that number, helping as many as possible.
In order to continue serving the men, women and children of Eastern Michigan, the Food Bank hosts and participates in a number of great events throughout the year that bring the community together in support of the fight against hunger. Thanks to a partnership between Genisys Credit Union and View Newspaper Group, the Food Bank will raffle off a “Wheelbarrow of Cheer” filled with craft beer at the 4th annual View Brew Fest set for 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 at Louie’s Sports Tavern in Lapeer.
Tickets for the raffle cost just $5, which can provide 30 meals for people who struggle with hunger. More info and tickets to View Brew Fest can be found at www.mihomepaper.com. For more information on the Food Bank, please visit www.fbem.org.