Food Bank Donations Down, Demand Is Not

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Most of the people who come into the Greater Lansing Food Bank have jobs, but they need a little help to make ends meet, Operations Director Kim Harkness says.

"They're still productive members of our community, they're still giving back to our community, it's just they're not being able to make ends meet," she said.

Signs that the economy is coming back don't necessarily mean people are feeling it on a personal level, Michigan State University Economics Professor Charles Ballard says. That's especially true of people in the middle and lower class. "How do we get those two things in our head at the same time - huge economic growth and continuing poverty," Ballard said."Those at the top have done extraordinarily well."

There's also an excess of "underemployed" people. They have jobs, so they do not factor into the unemployment rate, but they aren't working as much or in as high-paying a job as they would like.

Those people can end up at the food bank.

Which could be a problem. Harkness says food donations are down this year. "We have had a little bit of a dip when it comes to our food donations," she said. "We're hoping that, this fall, the food drive season is really upon us, again our community really just steps up and helps us out."

She says donations will be especially important coming into winter. Demand goes up because people who work seasonal jobs, like construction, sometimes have to wait through the winter without work.

To donate or learn more about the Greater Lansing Food Bank, click here.


Faurecia, an automotive supplier, helped collect more than 8,000 meals for the Greater Lansing Food Bank in October. The Lansing employees more than doubled their goal of 3,665. The company is challenging its 20,000 employees to collect one million meals for food banks near communities where the company serves.

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