By Jaylyn Galloway
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
For some in Lansing, food banks aren’t an option; they are a necessity.
“The local food bank is how I afforded to keep my house fed,” Brenda Smith, a Lansing resident, said.
At the time Smith and her husband were not only trying to feed themselves, but also the senior citizens that they took care of, she said. She had to get on assistance in order to keep everyone fed, because the money that their families provided wasn’t going to be enough.
Like the local food bank Smith used to help her to feed her household the Greater Lansing Food Bank is up to take the challenge to feed as many people as they can. The Greater Lansing Food Bank (GLFB) is a non-profit organization that provides emergency food to individuals and families in need in Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Shiawassee, Clare, Isabella and Gratiot counties.
“We estimated 1 in 5 people are at risk of food insecurity,” Justin Rumenapp the marketing and communications coordinator of Greater Lansing Food Bank said.
Some people lose their jobs, or are single parents and can’t afford to get food by themselves Rumenapp said. Through networks of churches and kitchens food is distributed throughout the community to citizens that need it, he said.
“I remember having to get up in the early morning hours and driving my trunk to the local food bank,” Mark Smith, a Lansing resident, said.
Mark Smith, who is Brenda Smith’s husband, said he would make sure to get up early in order to get a good spot in line, because if he came in late he would be waiting for hours sometimes.
The truth was money was tight and this was the only way to eat, he said. Mark Smith along with his wife Brenda Smith are not the only ones in Michigan to suffer having to find a means to eat.
In fact, according to the Feeding America Map the Meal Gap about 1,623,410 people fall under the Food Insecure category. In 2014, Michigan was ranked number 46 nationwide in the unemployment rate, and led to the amount of money needed to meet food needs to $737,256,00.
Recently the food bank partnered up with Human Relations and Community Services Department at the Lansing Catholic Central High School to hand out food to citizens.
“Today I am volunteering with the food bank to distribute food to people that are less fortunate than some of us they can get some supplemental food supplies,” Lee Brooks, a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and helper, said.
Volunteers take them directly to the individuals that request them; a lot of the time they are seniors who can’t get around well, Reed said. There is a great need out there for food and with the lack of jobs it can be hard.
It is not only adults that are affected by the pains of finding a way to feed themselves.
“I am a college student which means my money is either going towards bills or the university,” Joy Dickson, a Michigan State University sophomore, said.
There is also a student food bank at MSU for college students who are struggling with Food Insecurity Rumenapp said. They are in the regional pantry network.
Some of the clients there could be first-generation college-goers or non-traditional students: parents who have returned back to school to improve their job opportunities, Dickson said. Some might be students who are working to pay their way through but just can’t quite make ends meet, she said.
It’s sad for Dickson to say she relies on the student food bank in order to eat, because no one wants to say that, she said. She said that she is paying for the college on her own, and half of her salary is going towards her tuition and bills and that means she has little for food.