In Michigan alone, one of every six people struggles with hunger, according to feedingamerica.org. The Greater Lansing Food Bank estimates that 17.6 percent of the population in Ingham county, or roughly 49,060 people, is suffering from food insecurity.
The Greater Lansing Food Bank’s core mission is to make sure no one will go to bed hungry in any of the communities it serves. For more than 35 years, people in this community and workers at the food bank have come together to feed the hungry.
“Food is really a building block for a person and a building block for a community,” said Justin Rumenapp, a food bank employee. “We really believe here that getting people the food they need to fuel their energy, their daily activities, whether it’s work, play, study or care take for older, or younger relatives, we want to take food out of the equation when people are doing what they need to do.”
Last year, more than 6,177,000 meals were served through the Greater Lansing Food Bank. The organization has programs such as Food Movers, which picks up unused food from local restaurants and banquet halls and donates it to community kitchens in the area, such as the Southside Community Kitchen in Lansing.
In 2015, 97,000 pounds of food was rescued from local restaurants and banquet halls. Once food is been picked up, it is either taken straight to community kitchens, while it is fresh, or it goes to the warehouse to be re-packaged and tested for safety.
“One of our large donors is the Kellogg Center at Michigan State University,” said Kim Harkness, director of operations at the food bank. “We also work with local restaurants like Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse.”
Local restaurants donate food they do not use instead of throwing it away. According to a University of Arizona study, restaurants throw an estimated 49,296,540 pounds of food every day in the United States. The Food Movers’ main objective is to lower that number and reclaim as much food as it can.