food bank

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says one in seven Americans gets some of their food from the nation’s food banks.

The Hunger in America study finds demand remains high at the nation’s food banks despite an improving economy. Demand is high in Michigan as well.

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The Livingston County chapter of the Salvation Army is out of food.

Brighton Ford is organizing an emergency food drive called "Fill-A-Ford Full of Food" Saturday with the goal of restocking the food pantry of the Salvation Army. It will run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Brighton VG's Fresh Market.

In recent weeks the food pantry was pulling money from a summer children's fund to purchase food from Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan, according to Karen Swieczkowski, community relations director at Brighton Ford. Brighton Ford is spearheading tomorrow's food drive.

Courtesy photo / Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank

The food bank that supplies food pantries in 40 Michigan counties had a record year.

Last year Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank got more food donations and distributed more food than ever. More than 25 million pounds went to food pantries in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

The food bank’s CEO Ken Estelle says demand is up. Unlike during the recession, he says most people looking for free food these days are employed.

The federal government shutdown may add to the demand on Michigan’s food banks.

The shutdown is expected to force furloughs of many federal employees and others in Michigan.  Also, programs for the poor face cuts.

Kareemah El-Amin is the executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan.  She expects many will turn to food banks for help.   She adds Michigan’s food banks are already taxed to their limit.

“So this could provide a major impact on our funding ability to meet the need,” says El Amin, “Of course, we’re going to do the best we can.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new non-profit bank is opening to encourage grocery stores to locate in so-called "food deserts."

Those are places in cities, suburbs and rural areas with no farmers markets or grocery stores.

Jane Whitacre is director of the Michigan Food Policy Council. She says many other states have long taken advantage of a program that lends money to grocery stores to set up in under-served areas.

“It's really silly that a food state like Michigan hasn't already done this,” says Whitacre.