Independent Bank has launched a new campaign “Investing in Communities”. The campaign will give away money to 16 nonprofits . The first phase is devoted to food banks, food pantries, or soup kitchens. Each will receive $5,000. It is a public Facebook voting system. The Midland County Emergency Food Pantry Network is registered in this campaign. Here is how you come in! You can vote for us from March 15-29th. You may vote once per day. The four food related non-profits with the most votes will win. So please go to the Independent Bank website (www.independentbank.com/investing) and vote daily. Please tell your friends and family about voting starting March 15.
“Stop Hunger Challenge”
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Our goal this year is $80,000 in Food and Money
No one should have to worry about how they will afford to feed themselves or their family. Many people in our community are faced with this concern every day. Hunger does not discriminate. Hunger does not care about gender, age, race or religion. Hunger can affect people who are unemployed or working full-time. EFPN will be running its annual “Stop Hunger Challenge” during the months of March and April. Food and money
collected during this time will count towards this challenge. Our goal for this campaign is $80,000 in food and money. Food items are valued at $1.00 per item. This year we are once again very fortunate to have an anonymous donor come forward and offer an incentive for people to donate to us. EFPN will receive a check from this donor in proportion to the total funds and food items received during the challenge period. In addition, the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan is offering a 10% credit on our account for all money donated. In 2016, we spent $138,022 with the Food Bank to purchase food for our regular program as well as the BackPack Buddies and Mobile Pantry programs. Because of your monetary donations in the 2016 “Stop Hunger Challenge”, we were able to get $4,350 in credits at the Food Bank which helped to reduce our Food Bank bills. The demand for all our major programs (Regular Pantry Program, and the BackPack Buddies and Nutritional Supplement Programs) increased last year. Because of your generous support, we were able to maintain the same level of support for our recipients in spite of the increase. Donations toward any of our programs or specific pantries will qualify for the campaign. Monetary donations may be sent to EFPN, P.O. Box 2521, Midland, MI 48641-2521. Food donations may be donated to any of our pantries or to our warehouse location at 503 S. Saginaw Rd. If you would like to leave a donation at the warehouse, please call 486-9393 to arrange a time for delivery or pickup. Many of our supporting churches will be collecting at this time. You can continue to bring your donations to your church collection site.
It is customary at this time of year to look back on the previous year to reflect on what has been accomplished. Our statistics are not final, but in 2016 with the help of our supporters and volunteers, we provided food to over 2700 families who visited our eight pantries. We currently have a record 770 children enrolled in our BackPack Buddies Program. The food for the backpacks is purchased from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. We augmented the backpack once a month with an apple or orange. We sponsored 10 mobile pantries which averaged around 250 families per mobile pantry. We continue to provide a senior delivery service in partnership with the Department of Health & Human Services and Senior Services. We continue to provide nutritional supplements to low income people referred to us by Cancer Services, Senior Services and DaVita Dialysis. Expenditures on this program saw a large increase this year. We also provided vouchers for special baby formulas.
Just saying thank you to all our supporters and volunteers does not seem enough. We wish you could meet the people you have helped. Many are embarrassed to have to go to a food pantry. They are very grateful to all of you for helping them in their time of need. Vince Lombardi , a famous football coach said, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual”. We could not do the work we do without your donations of food, money and time. We rely on the generosity of numerous donors and on a tremendous network of volunteers to keep our programs running. We wish you all the best as we begin a new year continuing to work together to make an impact on the lives of those in need of food.
EFPN is now enrolled as a participating organization in Thrivent Choice. Thrivent Choice is a charitable grant program that allows eligible Thrivent Financial members to recommend where Thrivent Financial distributes part of its charitable outreach grant funds each year. Eligible Thrivent Financial members can direct available Choice Dollars® to EFPN at any time. To learn more about Thrivent Choice and direct Choice Dollars®to EFPN , visit Thrivent.com/thrivent choice or call Thrivent at 800-847-4836, and say “Thrivent Choice” when prompted.
Two girl scout troops came to the EFPN offices to learn about EFPN. Girls Scout Troop 50721 brought boxes of girl scout cookies. The girls counted the boxes in and put them on the shelves in our warehouse. Our pantry coordinators took the boxes from our warehouse for their pantry shelves. The cookies were a special treat for our clients. The girls also counted a food donation that had come in and shelved the items. Girl Scout Troop 50574 brought items for birthday kits. They had a tour of the SAMS pantry, one of our eight pantries. They were given the task of selecting a weeks worth of food for a two person family. We want to thank these troops for supporting EFPN and their willingness to learn about our organization. We also want to thank their leaders and their parents for teaching them to be concerned for those in need.
One of the programs of the Midland County Emergency Food Pantry Network (EFPN) is the student assistance program which helps low income college students monthly with food. Often these students are single parents returning to school in order to get a better job in the future. Students must provide proof that they are a student. EFPN wants them to focus on getting their education without having to worry about having enough money for food. EFPN had around 28 students per month for the 2013-2014 school year.
AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support EFPN every time you shop at no cost to you. When you shop on AmazonSmile, you will find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate .5% of the purchase price of eligible AmazonSmile items to EFPN. Tens of millions of products on AmazonSmile are eligible for donations. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages.
In order to get donations for EFPN you need to shop at http://smile.amazon.com . If you do not have an Amazon account you need to create one. On your first visit to AmazonSmile (after you have logged into your account), it will have a spotlighted charity but it will give you the option to choose a charity. Please search for Midland County Emergency Food Pantry Network. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make on AmazonSmile will result in a donation to EFPN.
It could be happening to an important person in your life and you may not even know it. Grandmothers choosing between their medication or buying groceries. Grandfathers passing up meals to pay the mortgage. Senior hunger is a serious problem, but often hidden. During the winter months, EFPN provides extra assistance to seniors referred to us by DHS so they don’t have to choose between food and medication or higher utility bills. Often the food is delivered directly to the senior recipients. EFPN also provides gift certificates for nutritional supplements like Ensure for low income elderly clients.
Take the short quiz below to see if you are aware of senior hunger. This quiz is sponsored by Feeding America. There is sometime a problem with getting to the answer page depending on the browser you are using. You can get to the answer page by submitting the answers twice or you can click on the second link below to see the answers.
EFPN was awarded the Beacon of Light Award at the conclusion of the Harvest Gathering of the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM) in recognition of our leadership in establishing new programs and our outstanding delivery of food to those in need in Midland County. The food gathering was begun nearly 20 years ago by Midland’s own Bill and Cynthia Schuette in an effort to raise both funds and food to support the 13 regional food banks throughout Michigan. The FBCM is comprised of member regional food banks. The regional food banks, along with their subsidiary distribution organizations and branch warehouses, safely store and provide millions of pounds of surplus vegetables, fruits, and other grocery items to more than 2500 local agencies serving each of the 83 counties in Michigan. These products are made available to the agencies at a low cost (about 10 cents per pound for goods with an average retail of about $2.00 per pound). Types of agencies include food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, hospices, domestic violence shelters, head-start programs, afterschool programs, half-way houses, and group homes for the mentally ill. The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan is the regional food bank used by EFPN This award is a testimony to more than 700 EFPN volunteers who move the food through the pantry, food bank, or backpack buddy program to those in need. Everyone,including our nearly 1000 donors, should be proud of this award!