Feast or famine for food banks at Thanksgiving

Capital News Service
LANSING — In Comstock Park near Grand Rapids, the hunger organization Feeding America West Michigan is doing something it’s never done before for Thanksgiving. The group is opening its warehouses directly to the public instead of only to hunger organizations like soup kitchens. The reason is that the group is having its fourth record year in a row of food donations, said Andrew Steiner, the media coordinator for the organization. That means its warehouse is full. The full house is partially due to a strong harvest, he said, and partially due to the organization’s relationships with food producers.

Northern Michigan pioneers effort to reduce food waste

Capital News Service
LANSING – Emmet County’s recycling program has been recognized as one of four model programs in the state for having a high quality service that matches the needs of the community. The Michigan Profile of Recycling Programs and Potential Recycling studied recycling programs across the state, concluding that the level of participation among residents and businesses is a strong social cue to encourage others to recycle. The study was done by the Northeast Michigan Council of Governments with a grant from the Department of Environmental Quality. Under a recent law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, beginning October 1, establishments that recycle 100 tons or more per year must collect data and report their activities to the state. The law requires the Department of Environmental Quality to operate a statewide database of recycling efforts, exclusive of food waste, by the facilities, which will be published annually online.

Campus food banks expand to feed hungry students

Capital News Service
LANSING – Food banks are a growing sight on Michigan campuses as many students struggle with higher tuition, costly rent – and sometimes, hunger. “I think institutions are beginning to realize that there has been a food insecure population on campuses all along, and we need to serve it,” said Nathaniel Smith-Tyge, director of the Michigan State University Food Bank. Prior to the Great Recession, Michigan institutions had only four on-campus food pantries, according to the MSU Food Bank. Today, Thirteen institutes have programs supported by the College and University Food Bank Alliance. Eastern Michigan is the latest school to follow this trend, opening a campus food pantry this fall.