Jackson meal distribution program provided 18,100 meals, gives $200k to local businesses


Jackson, Mich. (WLNS) — The Jackson community announced it has distributed 18,100 free meals to people in need through the City’s Martin Luther King J. Recreation Center.

About $200,000 has gone to local restaurants to produce the meals just five weeks into the start of the Town Meal Distribution program that began Feb. 1.

Healthy meals are distributed to anyone who needs a meal every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the MLK Center from 4 p.m. until meals are gone, but no later than 6 p.m. The program is funded by Consumers Energy and other community partners.

Funds go to local restaurants and catering companies to produce prepackaged meals, which are distributed by City staff and volunteers at the MLK Center. The businesses must meet certain
qualifications, such as purchasing a minimum of 50% of supplies locally.

The program’s goal is to help with the COVID-19 pandemic on three fronts, providing free meals to people struggling with food security, helping local businesses financially impacted by pandemic restrictions, and keeping employees working at the businesses.

With the first five weeks a resounding success, organizers are preparing for the next round of the program, working with 11 new Jackson area restaurants to continue Our Town through Friday, April 9.

The following businesses are providing meals for the second round
• Veritas
• The Crazy Cowboy
• Nite Lite
• Cascades Manor House
Every distribution day, long lines of cars wrap around the MLK Center as residents come to pick up meals. Most days, all 1,450 prepared meals are distributed within the first hour and a half. MLK Center Director Antonio Parker has worked alongside volunteers at every distribution event. “The huge demand we see for meals really shows how much the pandemic is impacting Jackson,” Parker said.

Meals are available on a first come, first served basis and the majority of meals are often distributed before 6 p.m.

There will be no meal distribution on Friday, April 2 due to Good Friday, so a distribution event will take place the previous day on Thursday, April 1.

More information about the Our Town program, such as how to volunteer or donate, can be found by visiting cityofjackson.org/ourtown

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