LANSING, Mich. — It's the season of giving, and the Greater Lansing Food Bank is experiencing that holiday generosity, with increased monetary and food donations.
Michelle Lantz, the CEO of the Greater Lansing Food Bank, said they typically see an increase in donations around the holidays, which is especially critical this year.
"As people have noticed in grocery stores, the shelves are becoming a little more bare," Lantz said. "The supply chain hasn't kicked back in like it was before the pandemic.”
The food bank typically gets a lot of their donations from grocery stores, Lantz said. But this year supply issues make individual donations even more crucial.
"It's really important, this year especially, for people to give food," Lantz said. "That can be any type of cans, things that are not expired, things that you would serve to you own family so that we can fill the shelves here and then get it back out to the public."
Warehouse associate Roger Fowler said he's seen lots of huge donations recently. And in the days preceding Thanksgiving, the food bank would have 25 to 30 trucks out collecting donations.
After a Wednesday event hosted by the MSU athletic department, Fowler said they likely collected more than 5,000 pounds of food.
"That's the most I've seen in the past five years," Fowler said.
Donations have been high since the pandemic began.
"We're still in an uptick over pre-pandemic season," Lantz said. "We have about 25 percent more pounds and meals that have gone out the door this year alone over prior years."
Lantz said she has not yet seen that number drop yet. At the earliest, things could start slowing down in the first or second quarter of next year.
Which Lantz said is a good thing, because these donations are still needed.
"The economy's still being rough for a lot of people," Lantz said. "Even though folks are back to work, they still have a lot of bills that they're trying to make up for that maybe they missed during the pandemic when they were out of work. So while they're trying to pay those bills, we're able to give them the food that they need for their meals and for their tables."
However, food and monetary donations tend to drop after the holidays.
"That's another time frame that we would love to have people think of us, during those first few quarters of 2022 when the giving season goes away, but the need doesn't go away," Lantz said.
Food collected by the Greater Lansing Food Bank goes to food pantries and meal sites across Mid-Michigan—in Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Isabella and Shiawassee Counties.
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