What is United Way doing about food insecurity?

Food from the Heart made a big difference last week, and there is still more to do. Last year, the 200,000 Food from the Heart meals were gone in just 3 weeks.

Our community was ranked the “second best dining and beverage destination” by World Food and Travel Association, yet 1 in 5 children here are food insecure. To create a thriving community for all, we need to support emergency food programs and efforts that build toward long-term food security.

United Way-supported programs like “Pantry Markets” that utilize local food sources, low-cost community food clubs, and education on gardening, waste, and food preservation are all helping to make the line at food pantries shorter.

This year, $550,000 from Heart of West Michigan United Way’s Community Investment Fund is going to local programs fighting food insecurity. We need your help! Grants from our Community Investment Fund are made possible by people like you.

THE CHALLENGE

SECOND BEST DINING AND BEVERAGE DESTINATION
— World Food and Travel Association
BEST CITY TO RAISE A FAMILY
— Forbes

but

According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap study, hunger threatens at least 1 in 8 people in our community.

but

1 in 5 children is considered food insecure, a condition that has serious implications for their immediate well-being and their long-term physical, cognitive, and social health.

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THE SOLUTION

Emergent Local Needs and Sustainable Solutions

Support emergency food programs and collaborative efforts that build toward long-term food security.

SHORT-TERM

  • congregate meals
  • meals for homebound seniors

LONG TERM

  • "Pantry Markets" that utilize local food sources
  • low-cost community food clubs
  • education on gardening and food preservation


EQUITY

We know that poverty and the effects of poverty affect people disproportionately. Therefore, we seek out partnerships that effectively serve these populations and reduce disparities. 

TARGET POPULATIONS

  • Veterans
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Older adults
  • Returning citizens
  • Youth
  • ALICE families and individuals
  • Rural families and individuals
  • People of color
  • Immigrants
  • Refugees

2017-18 UNITED WAY AGENCY PARTNERS IN FOOD SECURITY

Community Food Club of Grand Rapids, Catholic Charities West Michigan, Meals on Wheels Western Michigan, Our Kitchen Table, Senior Neighbors, Access of West Michigan, North Kent Connect, SECOM Resource Center, The Pantry, The Other Way Ministries, United Church Outreach Ministries (UCOM)


We are granting more than $4.7 million from our Community Investment Fund to 46 local programs that are reducing poverty and social inequities in Kent County. These grants were made possible by the generosity of more than 15,000 people who donated to our Community Investment Fund last year. (All undesignated gifts go to the Community Investment Fund.)