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United Dairy Industry of Michigan announces new grant program for food pantries

Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 17:45:32-04

DETROIT, Mich. — United Dairy Industry of Michigan, in collaboration with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Cross Complete of Michigan, has announced a new grant program for Michigan food pantries. The goal of the grant program is to help the pantries have access to nutrient-rich foods including dairy, fruits, and vegetables.

The program will have two grant categories. One will be the Dairy Foods Grant. For the grant, if a food pantry buys dairy foods from their food bank or local retailer, they can receive matching funds to buy additional dairy foods. Eligible pantries will be able to apply for up to $500 in dairy match funding. Eligible dairy foods include milk, cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese.

The other grant category will be the Food Pantry Infrastructure Grant. For the grant, pantries can apply for up to $2,500 in funds to improve pantry infrastructure in support of the distribution of dairy foods and fresh produce. Examples of eligible infrastructure requests to support dairy include coolers, along with transportation and maintenance of refrigeration equipment.

“As a Medicaid health plan, Blue Cross Complete aims to connect the communities we serve with a network of support systems,” said Blue Cross Complete of Michigan Market President Paul Loffreda. “Without basic necessities, such as wholesome food, it’s unlikely that a person can focus on their health or the health of their family. Blue Cross Complete is pleased to collaborate on this project and assist organizations that provide a stable food supply to the community.”

“Blue Cross is working diligently to improve Michigan’s health in collaborative, intentional ways,” said Ken Hayward, vice president and special assistant to the president for Community Relations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Food pantries serve as an important access point for people experiencing food insecurity to get the nourishment and nutrition they need. These grants will enhance how food pantries operate and offer them the resources to sustain their programs, in turn strengthening Michigan’s food ecosystem.”

“Partnering with Blue Cross and Blue Cross Complete on this grant program is imperative to UDIM,” said Cortney Freeland, director of Health and Wellness at the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. “Working with out partners to help decrease hunger and food insecurity in Michigan has always been a priority to our company and the Michigan dairy farmers we represent. This impactful initiative will make it easier for food pantries to provide more nutritious dairy foods, vegetables, and other healthy options for those in need.”

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