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Holiday season a critical time for food banks

The winter holiday season is the most critical time of the year for food banks, and pantries across Michigan are hoping that residents step up to fill the need. This generosity is especially important now, due to the state’s high rates of poverty, unemployment, and underemployment.
In our area, North Kent Community Services is partnering with the Rockford Footwear Depot, N. Main Street in Rockford, in “Food 4 Soles” December 3-5. Donate a non-perishable food item at the store and get a coupon for 20 percent off any one item. The center provides over 500,000 pounds of food annually for 5,000-plus families in the northern Kent County area.
Area Secretary of State offices are also collecting food. “There’s still time to help Michigan families in need this holiday season,” said Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. “Even in our great state, 1 in 6 children is at risk of hunger, but every dollar donated helps provide five meals. Please take a moment to assist someone who could use a helping hand by donating food or funds.”
Food donations are being collected at Secretary of State branch offices through Friday, Dec. 10. Financial donations may be made online at www.feedmichigan.org.
The campaign is coordinated by the Food Bank Council of Michigan, which supplies the state’s regional food banks through donations of food and money. The regional food banks serve food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in every Michigan county.
People are asked to donate food items such as canned meats, dry beans, soups, beef stew, pasta products, peanut butter and tuna. They can also donate baby food or formula, diapers, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. The Food Bank requests donors avoid items in glass, as they often break in transit.
In 2009, Michigan Harvest Gathering collected nearly 300,000 pounds of food and more than $620,000. The 2010 goal is 300,000 pounds of food and $800,000, which will help provide 4.2 million meals for the hungry.

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