This fall, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank is embarking on a new campaign to defeat hunger in West Michigan: the Million Meal March. It begins on Saturday, September 29, with a 10-kilometer hike from the Food Bank to Belmont and back along the White Pine Trail.
The Million Meal March is a multi-faceted fundraising push that runs from September through March. Feeding America West Michigan hopes to raise enough money to send an additional one million meals to local hunger relief agencies in the coming year.
Food insecurity remains high in Michigan. Statewide, 1.87 million people worry about purchasing enough food to feed themselves and their families. In our service area, from Benton Harbor to the western Upper Peninsula, more than 354,000 people are food insecure; one-third of them under 18.
“A community effort is essential if we’re going to meet this need,” said Ken Estelle, CEO of Feeding America West Michigan. “We encourage everyone who hikes on the 29th to raise $100 for the Food Bank.”
Every dollar raised enables Feeding America West Michigan to distribute four meals to people in need. Those interested may register online at MillionMealMarch.org.
In gratitude for their hospitality and to help preserve this indispensable West Michigan trail, five percent of the proceeds from the September 29 hike will be donated to Friends of the White Pine Trail.
A host of West Michigan organizations are sponsoring the Million Meal March: Friends of the White Pine Trail, The Corner Bar, Reds on the River, Kent District Library, Wolverine Worldwide, Country Fresh, BISSELL, Meijer, Crowe Horwath LLP, ARC Michigan, MLive, GR Outdoor, Family Fare, D&W Fresh Market, Eastown Veterinary Clinic, Old Orchard Brands, Lighthouse Group, and Forest Hills Foods.
The Million Meal March Trail Hike begins at Feeding America West Michigan in Comstock Park, 864 West River Center Drive. Local bands Hawks and Owls, Chinese Baseball and Suburban 5 & 10 will perform throughout the day, and The Corner Bar and Country Fresh are providing lunch and refreshments. The hike begins at 10 a.m. Participants can begin signing up, dropping off donations, and, for those who have raised $100, picking up their Million Meal March T-shirts at 9 a.m.
This is a family-friendly event. Children and pets are welcome, though we urge participants to leave this public trail as pristine as they found it.
Hunger is a daunting challenge, but together we have the strength to defeat it.
One of the nation’s largest and most effective food banks, Feeding America West Michigan reclaims edible surplus food from farmers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and restaurants. It stores, processes and distributes the food through 1,300 local food pantries and other hunger relief agencies in 40 West Michigan counties. More than 100,000 West Michigan families rely on food from Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank. For more information, visit www.feedingamericawestmichigan.org/.