Food Banks Face Overwhelming Need

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Post office workers will be collecting more than just mail on Saturday, they're hoping to fill their trucks with food as well.

With local food banks facing a growing need, they are trying to restock their shelves.

"Our neighbor, our friend, our family members, we are seeing people who never had to ask for help before are now coming to the food bank," shared Joe Wald, Executive Director of the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

For many of these people, Wald says it can be hard for them to ask for help. Lately he sees more needing food assistance.

"We're seeing people who just a few years ago were our donors," Wald said. "People who have jobs who thought they had their retirement taken care of who now are having to come and ask for help."

From high unemployment rates, cuts to the food stamp program, to the rising cost of food, more people are dealing with food insecurity. Just in the tri-county area 20 percent of people are at risk of going hungry. All reasons Wald says the timing of this weekend's Stamp Out Hunger food drive couldn't be better.

"So it's time to replenish our shelves so we can get food out to people," Wald added.

The Greater Lansing Food Bank has a stock room that is currently empty. After this weekend's donations, their hoping it will be filled with food. The food bank is try to match or exceed the 100,000 meals that were donated last year.

"This will help to get us to the summer to help make sure that children, families and seniors have food," Wald said.

Students who typically get school lunches will have three weeks over the summer where the federal lunch program will not cover them. That leaves the job to the city and other donation areas.

"Last year we did 1,500 lunches and that was just barely the tip of the iceberg" said Joan Jackson Johnson, the Director of Human Relations and Community Services for the city of Lansing.

"I think some people still can't believe that happens in their backyard" Johnson added.

It's a need donations can help make a big difference to meet.

Mail carriers will be collecting donated bags left by mailboxes Saturday morning. People can donate non-perishable or boxed foods, as well as toilet paper and personal care items.

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