GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Food Bank Council of Michigan is urging the state legislature to approve a $50MIL budget line item this year after costs and demand for services have skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic.
Rep. Roger Victory toured Feeding America West Michigan's facility in Comstock Park Tuesday, as he heard from the council about how their efforts have adopted in the past two years.
The council is made up of seven food banks spread throughout the state, and serving all of Michigan's 83 counties.
The $50MIL is meant to improve their infrastructure to better serve people living in the Upper Peninsula and the northern portion of the state.
It will also allow them to conduct a "hunger study", meant to help them better understand the changing needs of Michigan families.
Rep. Victory also introduced Senate Bill 885 back in February, which would allocate $15MIL for the food bank council to launch a "farm-to-family" food box program.
“The need is there right now,” Rep. Victory told FOX 17 on Tuesday.
“We have hard working men and women throughout the state of Michigan working 40 hours, 50 hours, and yet when they go to the local grocery store, and they start checking out, they can't even pay for all the groceries they have in the cart.”
Prior to the pandemic, their seven food banks were distributing about 165MIL pounds of food statewide.
At this point, after two years of COVID-19, they have increased that number to 237MIL pounds this year, a 47% spike.
They are also dealing with an approximate 20% rise in transportation costs.
“We have Feeding America and other institutions that have this distribution system there," Rep. Victory said.
"It's just having accessibility, getting these dollars to purchase this product, and making sure we get it into this distribution center where it's needed.”