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Michigan's Food and Agriculture Businesses Answer Call for Food Donations
April 22, 2020
April 22, 2020
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has recognized several Michigan food and agriculture businesses for their donations to the Food Bank Council of Michigan 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 Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM) to seek donations of food and funds as part of the initiative.
“As we face unparalleled challenges, the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Initiative allows the state to accept monetary donations and donations of food or other needed supplies to support critical services during response and recovery efforts,” said Whitmer. “These donations from Michigan food and agriculture businesses will make a huge difference to families affected by COVID-19 and will shore up our food bank system at a time when it’s really needed.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are facing economic hardship and food insecurity, and 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.
“Michigan’s food and agriculture industry has stepped up many times to help those in need through donations of food and funds, and although times are tough for the industry right now, our friends in the food and ag sector have once again heeded the call for help,” said Gary McDowell, MDARD director. “Food donations are desperately needed to meet historically high demand at a time when food supplies are dangerously low, and collectively, we can make a huge difference.”
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 our state:
- Wednesday afternoon, McDonald’s of Michigan made a delivery to the Greater Lansing Food Bank. The list of donated items includes apple slices, English muffins, buns, GoGurts, apple juice and cheese slices. The McDonald’s Owner/Operators of Michigan are also donating $25,000 to the state’s food banks to help them through this difficult time.Sysco, with Michigan locations in Grand Rapids, Canton and Monroe, donated 48,000 pounds of food products, valued at $94,000. Items included beef, turkey and chicken products; cheese, yogurt and other dairy products; tortillas; hummus; beverages and more.
- Peterson Farms, Inc., of Shelby, donated over 100,000 pounds of three varieties of unsweetened applesauce made from Michigan apples, including mixed berry and strawberry applesauce, valued at nearly $78,000.
- McDonald’s Owners/Operators of Michigan donated a combined 7,300 pounds of products, valued at $5,000, including apple slices, Go-Gurt squeezable yogurt, apple juice, buns, English muffins and cheese slices, that were delivered to Forgotten Harvest in Oak Park, Food Gatherers in Ann Arbor, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint, Feeding America West Michigan in Comstock Park, the South Michigan Food Bank in Battle Creek and the Greater Lansing Food Bank, to help alleviate the shortages. In addition, the Michigan McDonald’s Owner/Operators of Michigan are donating $25,000 to the Governor’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Initiative.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the following companies have made donations of food and funds directly to food banks in our state:
- Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, Michigan’s largest egg producer located in Saranac, donated over 300,000 eggs, valued at $65,000, to Feeding America West Michigan and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint in addition to other community organizations across the state, and plans to continue donations.
- United Dairy Industry of Michigan, on behalf of Michigan’s dairy farmers, has donated over $200,000 in matching grants to Michigan food banks to support their purchase of milk and cheese for families in need and to buy needed cooling equipment for the safe distribution of fresh dairy foods.
- Michigan Milk Producers Association, a dairy farmer cooperative, announced in March a donation of 2,020 pounds of milk per day during calendar year 2020 to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. The total donation equals about 234 gallons of milk per day for the year or 85,410 gallons of milk. The donation is in partnership with Kroger’s Michigan Dairy plant, with MMPA donating the milk and the Kroger plant processing and packaging the milk. MMPA also donated 500 pounds of cheese and over 1,100 pounds of butter to the St. Joseph County United Way in mid-April for distribution to families in that county. St. Joseph County is where MMPA’s Constantine manufacturing plant is located.
Donations of goods made to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Initiative are eligible for a federal tax deduction and may help leverage a 3-times match from federal resources, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If transportation assistance is needed for donations, the state has secured trucks and can assist in donation pick-up and delivery.
Food and agriculture businesses who would like to arrange for a donation should contact MDARD at MDARD-COVID19@michigan.gov. For other businesses and individuals interested in donating to the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Initiative, a secure online donation with the Michigan Department of Treasury can be made by visiting www.michigan.gov/fightcovid19 and clicking on “donations.” Donations of any size can be made by credit or debit card.