Michigan potatoes, beans, dairy products and other foods headed to families in need across the state

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Homemade Thanksgiving Mashed Potatoes with butter and Rosemary

Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan potatoes, dry beans, dairy products and other goods are headed to struggling families across the state, as state agricultural businesses work to provide food assistance during the pandemic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today recognized several Michigan food and agriculture businesses for their donations to the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM) and other non-profits as part of the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Initiative launched earlier this month.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has partnered with the Governor’s Office and the FBCM seeking donations of food and funds as part of the initiative. 

“At a time when everyone is facing challenges, and the need for food assistance is so great, our food and agriculture businesses continue to answer the call for help,” said Governor Whitmer. “We are also fortunate to have such a wonderful network of food bank staff and volunteers who know how to stretch a dollar and provide nutritious, wholesome food to people across the state.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are continuing to face economic hardships and food insecurity. As a result, they are turning to food banks for assistance. Through its network of regional food banks and distribution centers, FBCM provides food to more than 3,000 local food banks, soup kitchens and food pantries across the state.  

Food banks are currently operating at four times their normal capacity and are experiencing significant trouble securing food to meet demand.

Although the federal stimulus package will provide future relief, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has told FBCM they will not receive food through the federal program until July, well beyond the expected food gap food banks are facing right now. 

The following food and agriculture businesses have made donations of food and funds to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Initiative to support food banks in Michigan:

  • Michigan Bean Commission donated seven tons of dry beans to the FBCM for distribution to food banks across the state.
  • Michigan Turkey Producers, of Grand Rapids, a cooperative of family farms, donated 9,160 pounds of turkey, valued at approximately $25,000, to Feeding America West Michigan.
  • Eden Foods, located in Clinton, donated 7,868 pounds of soy milk, valued at approximately $9,760 to the South Michigan Food Bank
  • Little Diablo Salsa, of Brighton, donated 125 pounds of salsa, valued at $232.50 to Gleaners Community Food Bank

The following have made recent donations of food and funds directly to food banks in the state: 

  • Michigan Potato Industry Commission donated $5,000 toward the purchase of a truckload of Michigan potatoes.
  • Michigan Farm Bureau Family of Companies, through its one-week Million Meal Challenge, raised $187,405, or more than 1.1 million meals.
  • Dairy Farmers of America, a farmer-owned dairy cooperative, partnered with the Country Fresh Grand Rapids dairy processing plant to provide milk to Michigan food banks.
  • More than 56,000 gallons of 2% milk was donated between April 15 and May 15.

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