More than halfway to its goal, Million Meal March presses on

Million-meal-MaryJoLast September, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank embarked on a quest to send an additional one million meals to families in need. The cost of that goal was $238,000. A little less than one year later, the Food Bank has raised more than half that amount.

As the Million Meal March enters its second year, Feeding America West Michigan is asking the community to join them in seeing it through.

The Million Meal March 10K Trail Hike will take place at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Feeding America West Michigan’s Comstock Park headquarters, 864 West River Center Drive. The Food Bank stands adjacent to the White Pine Trail, where participants will walk just over six miles total.

Last year, 250 people took part, and the Food Bank hopes to double that number this year.

“What better way to spend a fall morning?” said Linda Vanderbaan, fund development manager and the event’s primary organizer. “The White Pine Trail is gorgeous, just gorgeous. And this time of year, with the leaves starting to turn, it’s going to be spectacular.”

Participants are encouraged to raise $100, enough to send 400 meals to people in need. Every participant will receive a Food Bank water bottle, a wristband, and refreshments provided by Country Fresh and Kellogg’s. Lunch will be provided by The Corner Bar. Two musical acts, Suburban 5 & 10 and Jack Tabler, will perform throughout the morning, and a trolley will be available at the halfway point for those who prefer to walk five kilometers. Leashed pets are welcome.

The Million Meal March campaign is intended to help bring greater awareness of hunger issues to the West Michigan community, said Food Bank CEO Ken Estelle. “We wanted to communicate the fact that, despite the overall economic recovery, thousands are going hungry right in our neighborhoods.”

In the 40 counties Feeding America West Michigan serves, one in five children is food insecure. More than 316,000 people are at risk of hunger in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

Estelle hopes the Million Meal March will be an entry point for people to get involved in the local effort to fight hunger. “This is an easy way for people to join the cause. Everyone in our community has something to contribute. Everyone has something to offer. Together we can defeat hunger.”


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