MI food banks prepare for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

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Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — The Food Bank Council of Michigan is set to receive $3 billion in food purchases from the USDA’s newly created Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

In addition to supplying fresh emergency food, the program supports U.S. farmers by providing $100 million monthly for dairy, produce and meats. The announcement of the additional food purchases presents challenges to Michigan’s food bank network as they navigate a new federal program and deliveries to multiple locations.

“Everything inside a pandemic like COVID-19 gets magnified and multiplied,” said Dr. Phil Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “Inequities are magnified but the efforts of so many to do so much good gets multiplied.”

Michigan food banks are continuing to meet the challenges of feeding an escalating number of hungry families and seniors. The average food distribution pre-COVID 19 was 439,368 pounds per week. That jumped in mid-April to 618,979 pounds, representing a 41% increase in demand for emergency food.

The Michigan Farm Bureau is collaborating with commodity organizations and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to determine how agriculture products can be included in the food assistance program.

The Food Bank Council network is emphasizing the need for its distributors to work with Michigan farmers and processors, bringing in as much Michigan milk, dairy and produce as possible. As the nation’s second most agriculturally diverse state, Michigan is able to provide fresh, healthy food during a crisis.

For more information on the Food Bank Council of Michigan’s response to COVID-19, visit https://www.fbcmich.org/covid-19/.

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