BATH, Mich. — The Greater Lansing Food Bank’s new distribution headquarters in Bath is enormous. It’s doubled in size compared to the former headquarters. We are here because of this week's good neighbors, the volunteers who make this such a successful operation.
Dean Kimmith has been a Greater Lansing Food Bank volunteer for four years.
“The real story is when I go from car to car registering people at these drive-up food drives. People tell me, ‘You know, I got x money left for my mortgage, I have x money left for my insurance. And now it’s the end of the month, and all I got is 20 bucks left for food.”’
Each week hundreds of volunteers like Dean arrive at the Greater Lansing Food Bank to sort food, fill orders, and help a network of 140 member agencies, including food pantries, community kitchens, and shelters, receive nutritious food.
Maureen McDonough has also been volunteering at the Greater Lansing food bank for the past four years. She says her biggest takeaway is how wide the food distribution gap is.
“I've learned there are a lot of hungry people in our community. And it's a huge need. And it's a real shame in a country as rich as ours that people are hungry, and children are hungry.”
The Greater Lansing Food Bank is a member of Feeding America and the Food Bank Council of Michigan. It serves a 4,000 square-mile area that spans several counties including Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham.
The mission is to alleviate hunger one meal at a time and envision a future in which everyone has access to nourishing food.
Sara Szwejda is the Greater Lansing Food Bank Program Coordinator
“It's shocking at first. You go to these big distributions. The city of Lansing serves anywhere between 250 and 400 families. You see the cars lined up, you see the children and the seniors, and they are here where we live there. They are our neighbors. I think it’s fair that everybody should have access to food!”
The Greater Lansing Food Bank’s new volunteer headquarters has been up and running since August 1 and can host twice the number of volunteers. Every week there are between 85 and 100 volunteers are working. That means they can get food out the door that much faster.
“It’s not just food; It’s diapers, it’s personal care products. Everyone needs toilet paper and paper towels, right?”
James Preacher says he loves volunteering at the Food Bank.
“I truly believe that I benefit just as much as the people that get the food packages that we put together here. For two and a half to three hours, I'm physically active. I know that I'm doing something that's really important!”
“Not only are our volunteer's good neighbors, but our community really stepped up to be a good neighbor and helped us,” says Szwejda. You know, they helped build this place that you see today and expand the amount of food we can put out.”
The Greater Lansing Food Bank would not be able to feed the more than 7-million meals each year if it weren’t for the volunteers who are this week’s Good Neighbors.
If you would like more information on the Greater Lansing Food Bank visit their website at https://greaterlansingfoodbank.org/
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