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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Food Banks

WLNS in Lansing, Michigan, reports:
As the economy struggles to bounce back, food banks are faced with overwhelming need. The food Bank Council of Michigan tells us 1.1 million people were served in 2010, 1.6 million in 2011, and this year they are expecting even more.
The food is flying off the shelves, quite literally at Our Savior Lutheran Food Bank in Lansing. Director Sharon Miller says their serving more people than ever. They get orders from the Greater Lansing Food Bank to fill and their usual 12 has grown to more than 30. That's 30 families, not people, families with 3 or 4 children.
Miller says "one Friday I couldn't open at all because I ran out of food, another one I could only serve half of the people because I didn't have enough." For the first time in 14 years, Sharon Miller had to shut her doors. The shelves in the extra storage room are usually full on Monday. But by the end of the week, they were empty, telling a tale of just how many are in need.
The Brazil Times, in Brazil, Indiana, reports:
Staff members from the VistaCare Hospice office will blanket the Wabash Valley throughout August, distributing food collection bags and gathering donations for the Terre Haute Catholic Charities Foodbank as part of the company's eighth food drive.
As part of the Gentiva Health Services family and home health and hospice providers, employees at the VistaCare Hospice Terre Haute office and their fellow employee around the country are placing food collection bags at various health care partners in their respective communities and will collect their "harvest" during the entire month.
The organization is focused on beating last year's national record, when the company's seventh food drive yielded more than 382,702 pounds of goods for donation to charitable organizations across the country.
The Deseret News reports:
Christ United Methodist Church in Salt Lake reports a successful Vacation Bible School on its website. Called “Sky – Everything is Possible with God”, 83 children and 42 volunteers came together late last month and raised $265 for mosquito nets to protect children in Mali from malaria. They also collected 400 pounds of food for Crossroads Food Pantry.
Jan Kotuby, associate rector of St. James Episcopal Church, said her committee looked at changing dates and times, but parents and children preferred mornings, 9 to noon. “A number of children of other faiths participated this year. It worked out great for all of us.”

Vacation Bible School took place this past week, with the children, as always, working in the church’s community garden and donating food. St. James is a distribution center for the Utah Food Bank, open the second and fourth Sundays of every month.
It is no coincidence that these stories involve faith-based organizationsA 2010 report by Feeding America highlights the role of such groups:

  • 72% of pantries, 62% of kitchens, and 39% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations. This compares to 74%, 65%, and 43% in 2005.
  • In addition to operating emergency food programs, agencies may offer additional services. Among all agencies surveyed, 67% with at least one pantry, kitchen, or shelter are faith-based. About 55% of agencies, including those with other types of programs, are also faith-based.
  • Private nonprofit organizations with no religious affiliation comprise 33% of other types of agencies.