Consumers Energy, City of Jackson announce ‘Our Town’ to support local restaurants, provide meals to community

The new program will distribute thousands of meals to Jackson families in need for 10 weeks, starting on Feb. 1.
City of Jackson, MI sign
City of Jackson, MI sign(City of Jackson Facebook)
Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 8:13 AM EST
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - Tuesday Consumers Energy and the City of Jackson announced the launch of the Our Town meal distribution program, a one-of-a-kind collaboration in Michigan to support local restaurants and provide free meals to members of the community.

The new program will distribute thousands of meals to Jackson families in need for 10 weeks, starting on Feb. 1.

Nearly $500,000 contributed by Consumers Energy and several community partners will pay over 20 locally-owned restaurants to make healthy meals. Restaurants also will promise that over half of the food is locally sourced, creating more economic value for the community.

“We are excited this innovative and collaborative effort will assist those in need in our hometown,” said Roger Curtis, Consumers Energy’s vice president for public affairs. “We have been so touched by the generosity of our friends with the City of Jackson and community partners who are stepping up to ensure our local restaurants stay in business and our neighbors do not go hungry.”

The effort in Jackson is inspired by Everyone Eats, a program in Brattleboro, Vt., which used federal funding to help restaurants and provide thousands of meals.

Consumers Energy and Jackson city officials hope the Our Town approach can lead to more donor-driven efforts across Michigan.

City of Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies praised the swift work of city staff to join forces with Consumers Energy and others. The effort also is supported by the Dream Maker Fund, the Jackson Community Foundation, and the Enterprise Group Community Ventures Corporation.

“Our amazing City of Jackson staff have been instrumental in getting this much-needed program going,” Dobies said. “This partnership with Consumers Energy really speaks to the commitment of our community to make sure everyone is cared for during this ongoing pandemic and hunger issues are kept at the forefront.”

Meals will be dispersed at the King Recreation Center, 1107 Adrian St., from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays starting Feb. 1. Meals will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Community members, potential volunteers, and restaurants interested in the program can learn more HERE.

Jackson restaurants that have announced they are taking part in Our Town so far are:

  • Bella Notte Ristorante, 137 W. Michigan Ave.
  • 308 Brass Rail, 308 W. Prospect St.
  • Big Guy Catering, 309 S. Jackson St.
  • Candi’s BZB Café, 225 S. Mechanic St.
  • Gene Davis & Sons Catering, 3575 Francis St.
  • Grand River Brewery, 117 W. Louis Glick Highway
  • Ixcanul, 7851 Spring Arbor Road
  • Jackson Coney Island, 615 E. Michigan Ave.
  • Knight’s Steakhouse & Grill, 2125 Horton Road
  • WestEnd Farm to Table, 414 W. Michigan Ave.

“The Enterprise Group, through its Community Ventures Corp. foundation, is proud to be a partner in addressing the challenges facing restaurant owners in Jackson County,” said Tim Rogers, president and CEO of The Enterprise Group of Jackson. “Throughout the past year, we have continuously worked to identify how we can help alleviate some of the pressure businesses face due to the pandemic. Our community’s generosity in supporting Our Town indicates how Jackson can come together in a time of need. As the fiduciary for Our Town funds, the EG/CVC will manage the disbursement of funds to the restaurants so that they receive payments for the meals they provide.”

The Our Town effort joins other work by Consumers Energy recently to support Michigan businesses. In December, the company distributed $850,000 in matching gift cards for small businesses in over 55 communities.

“This is a hopeful time for our state as Michiganders start to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the governor announcing plans to reopen restaurants next month,” Curtis said. “We still need to support our town, and every town, until our restaurants get completely back on their feet.”

People are encouraged to donate to the Our Town campaign by going to the Jackson Community Foundation website. Click the “Donate” tab and enter “Dream Maker/Restaurant Initiative” as the fund name to make a donation.

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