Food banks facing shortages of donations in summer months

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LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Food banks are always in need of donations, both monetary and food, but Summer is the barest of all seasons for giving.

Donations often decline during warmer months, but the need  for food for families never takes a break.

“It’s really one of those times when people aren’t thinking of giving,” food programs manager Kathleen Clark said.

Clark is with the state’s food program, which oversees the seven major food banks in Michigan. She says in summer, food banks face a double negative across Michigan.

“There is a definite increase in need, but a decrease in people making those donations,” Clark said.

There is a drastic difference between what the Greater Lansing Food Bank had on hand in February, compared to what is on the shelves today, slim pickings compared to the winter months, especially with children out of school not receiving the free breakfasts and lunches they would during the school year.

“That’s our biggest challenge right now is making sure there is food on the table of every child in the community,” Greater Lansing Food Bank Director Joe Wald said.

Not only do the children suffer, but their families do as well, and Joan Jackson-Johnson with Lansing’s Human Relations and Community Services says some people are not even accounted for.

“Sometimes we have gaps that exist, that we aren’t aware of,” Jackson-Johnson said.

The city does team up with Meijer to provide a box of food 3 weeks out of the summer for families of up to 6, but even those go fast and families have to pre-register to secure their food. Joe Wald with the Greater Lansing Food Bank says as difficult as the months ahead may be, failure is not an option.

“It’s not a question of can we do it, it’s a question of how do we do it,” Wald said.

Michigan is one of the leading states allocating funds to food banks to assist with needs, which makes a major difference in the number of those who go hungry. Food Bank representatives say the need continues to increase.

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