GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (ABC 4)- Did you know nearly 261,000 people in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are food insecure, meaning “they don’t have consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life?” While the need for food assistance is more dire than ever, the West Michigan community, local schools, volunteers and organizations are stepping up to support Feeding America’s mission of eradicating hunger!

Inside Feeding America West Michigan’s warehouse, located in Comstock Park, you can find volunteers working diligently to process food donations. According to Feeding America West Michigan, the support of thousands of volunteers helps the nonprofit organization distribute up to 25 million pounds of food across 40 of Michigan’s 83 counties annually.

However a person decides to support the fight against hunger by donating, fundraising, volunteering, etc., their involvement makes a big difference in the lives of hundreds to thousands of West Michigan families.

“Hunger is in every neighborhood, and we know that. You may not know somebody personally, but you can count on the fact that somebody in your neighborhood struggles to put food on the table consistently every day. And so, this really helps,” Ken Estelle from Feeding America West Michigan said.

And the ability to take action doesn’t end here. Three years ago, the “Football Frenzy Tailgate Food Drive” was established to encourage several schools to compete to see who can donate the most meals for families needing food assistance. 

This year’s “Football Frenzy Tailgate Food Drive” saw incredible results, with local schools collecting over 57,000 pounds of food to distribute across nine school districts. 

“What ends up happening in all of this are these schools and kids are uniting together and actually competing against hunger. And in the end, we’re winning. We’re all winning together,” Casey Jones, WOOD TV8 Community Affairs Director, said.

Maranda’s friends at Meijer are also supporting Feeding America’s mission. The American supercenter chain has recently donated $100 gift cards to distribute among food pantries. Learn more by watching the segment featured above! 

For additional information about Feeding America West Michigan and to get involved, visit the organization’s website here