Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hunger in America

Last Thursday the Comstock Park Rotary, which normally meets at the Swan Inn on Alpine Ave, met at the corporate office of Feeding America, formally known as West Michigan Gleamers. The warehouse and offices are located in Comstock Park just across from Alpine Township.

Feeding America is a network of individuals, local food banks, national offices, as well as corporate and government partners. Together, they are bigger, better, stronger and more efficient than the sum of their parts. They feel that working as a cohesive system is the only way they can truly solve the hunger crisis.
Feeding America works with large corporate donors to secure food and grocery products on a national level to distribute, as needed, to local food banks. The relationship that the Feeding America organization builds with larger corporations also helps facilitate a relationship between your local food bank and your local grocery store, for example.
To view a copy of their current newsletter, The Full Plate Press, click here .

Through a grant process, Feeding America provides national funding to local food banks. It’s easier and more efficient for a single, larger charity to procure grants, than it would be for many local food banks to compete for a limited amount of funds. The grants that the organization receives are most often created to fund innovation at the local level, so that food banks can test new and better ways to secure and distribute food.

Because they’re a national organization, they can work toward ensuring that all food bank members across the country are equally and properly trained. They also help set standards for food safety, financial systems and record keeping as well as transportation and donor relations.

Because they are a national group, it’s easier for them to give a voice to those who aren’t heard. Because of their strong relationship with the U.S. government, Feeding America is the primary recipient of government commodities, such as those from the Emergency Food Assistance Program. As a charity with national reach, they can engage the public and raise awareness of this critical issue on a national and local level.

At times of natural disaster, or simply in everyday business, working as a national organization helps them to see where needs are strongest. One local food bank may receive an excess of a certain commodity, while another is feeling a need for that product. Moving food and employees where they are needed most is a strategic advantage in the fight against hunger.
For a copy of the current newsletter, please click

Rotarians grab a quick meal

Staff/volunteers selectiong products

Executive Director John Arnold (Right) , and Rotarian Bob VanderMale

As many as one in eight people in West Michigan haven't enough to eat. Feeding America believes ending hunger is achievable by making it affordable and by supporting optimal use of readily available resources.

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