Everyone is feeling the pinch of these tough economic times, especially food banks. In an effort to help these charities, the Fifth Third Foundation awarded Feed America West Michigan Food Bank a grant to distribute 50,000 pounds of food to needy people in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Ionia, Allegan, and Montcalm counties. On Monday, November 16, volunteers from Fifth Third Bank worked in partnership with St Stephen Evangelical Lutheran to deliver 5,000 pounds of food using Feed America’s mobile food pantry. This food will help replenish the church’s resources and reduce food cost for needy families. “With Fifth Third’s help in providing both funding and volunteers, together we were able to deliver at least 50 pounds of food each to more than 160 families yesterday; families that are our friends and neighbors throughout the Rockford and North Kent County area,” said Jerry Field, Director of Missional Life at St. Stephen Lutheran Church. “At an average family size of three to four people, this means that we were able to positively impact the lives of 500 to 600 persons in need.” Michigan families, especially children, are facing a difficult holiday season. In Michigan, 11.8 percent of Michigan residents we are facing food insecurity, 16.2 percent are children. Food banks like St. Stephen’s offer families an opportunity to augment their growing needs. St. Stephen Lutheran holds this event the third Monday of each month, year-round. If you are interested in volunteering to help St. Stephen Lutheran’s food pantry, please visit: www.sselc.org, or to learn more about the Feed America, visit: http://feedingamerica.org.
St. Stephen Lutheran Church
Every month since December of 2007, St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 6070 Kuttshill Dr. NE, has been distributing thousands of pounds of food to North Kent area families in need. Through Second Harvest Gleaners “Mobile Food Pantry” program, this local congregation has been able to provide approximately 7,500 pounds of produce, dairy, bread and other food items each month to families who come to their Mobile Food Pantry events. During 2008, over 75,000 pounds of food was distributed to over 1,300 families, representing a value of over $160,000 if purchased at retail. This program has helped families dealing with the effects of job loss, illness, and other issues make ends meet during difficult economic conditions. Each month, more than 25 St. Stephen volunteers of all ages take part in unloading, repacking, and carrying out boxes, bags and cartloads of food. Volunteers report being touched and blessed in many ways by this opportunity to serve their neighbors. From spring to fall, food distribution takes place in the church’s large and conveniently located parking lot, at the corner of Northland Drive and Rogue River, with the entrance off Kuttshill Drive. During cold months, distribution is moved indoors. St. Stephen’s Mobile Food Pantry will be held on the third Monday of each month through 2009, with the next event March 16. Distribution begins not later than 5 p.m. All area families experiencing financial hardship are invited and welcome.