Michigan food pantries face overwhelming need, decreasing volunteers

While need is going up at Michigan foodbanks, supplies and supporters are going down.

The economic pain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is creating a tidal wave of demand for food that is straining food pantries in Detroit, according to Bridge Magazine.

The same can be said of food pantries in southwest Michigan.

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Loaves and Fishes, a food pantry serving Kalamazoo County, is struggling to provide food to everyone who needs it. The organization has had to scale back its offerings from distributing food from dozens of locations throughout the county to just a few. The decrease is intended to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19.

Loaves and Fishes distribution criteria

At the same time, Loaves and Fishes has reported a decrease in volunteers caused by coronavirus fears and the state’s stay-at-home order. Many of the foodbank’s usual volunteers are at high-risk of contracting COVID-19 and have stepped back from regular volunteerism.

Meanwhile, several organizations are attempting to fill the void. Area churches, such as Valley Family Church in Kalamazoo, are distributing groceries periodically. The church distributes food on Tuesday evenings each week.

And Kalamazoo’s Ministry with Community continues to offer breakfast and lunch every day, though their procedures have tightened up. They only allow 45 people at a time into their building on North Edwards St. And meals are distributed in bags at the door instead of on trays in their lunch room.

You can read more about Detroit’s troubles at Bridge Magazine.

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