Greater Lansing Food Bank is ending hunger in Lansing and surrounding communities by making food accessible to those in need. Strong local relationships, experience, and a penchant for efficiency make them the perfect hub to distribute food to those suffering from hunger or food insecurity.
In this charity spotlight, I spoke with the Marketing and Communications Coordinator of Greater Lansing Food Bank, Justin Rumenapp.
In the late seventies, the United States began experiencing an economic downturn. The unemployment rate was rising across the country and would continue to rise into the early eighties. Lansing was no exception.
By 1981 the situation was bad enough that some Lansing residents had to choose to pay their bills over buying groceries. A group of neighbors noticed this happening and they felt so strongly that no one should have to worry about food that they organized a monthly food drive to help out their community.
This began the earliest iteration of Greater Lansing Food Bank, The Greater Lansing Food Alliance. This effort provided a way for donors and volunteers to distribute food to local churches, schools, and ultimately to residents in need. The nature of the alliance brought communities together and helped the program expand quickly.
As the alliance grew, new programs were introduced and in recent years, the organization merged with a local Red Cross’ food distribution operation. The organization now know as Greater Lansing Food Bank continues to expand its network of aid.
The Greater Lansing Food Bank serves residents in seven different counties around Lansing. They help organize food drives and accept donations from individuals and businesses. Volunteers help sort both nonperishables and produce in a warehouse and drivers distribute the food to 130 different community kitchens and pantries in the area.
The Food Movers program helps reduce food waste by collecting and immediately distributing excess food from restaurants and catered events. There are also mobile food pantries that make food accessible beyond their current network of pantries and kitchens.
GLFB makes food available through their Garden Project as well. Residents can get access to land, tools, seeds, and the education needed to grow fresh food in community and home gardens.
GLFB is a proud member of Feeding America. They routinely exceed the standards of quality and service during inspections. They have also built many strong relationships with partners, volunteers, and donors over the past thirty years.
The bonds formed and the experience acquired have made a great impact on the communities of Mid-Michigan. With one dollar they can provide up to five meals and in 2015 they served over 6 million meals! Those meals make for a lot of grateful people.
Mr. Rumenapp says that in addition to meeting the regular needs of residents, the Greater Lansing Food Bank would like to provide even more fresh, healthy food. GLFB has also started including recipes to help the people they serve find new ways to put the fresh food to use.
Fitting their supply to the need is a pretty big challenge, too. The food bank would like to identify those needs and adapt or expand accordingly.
If you want to help a nonprofit out, Justin recommends getting involved with something you care about. When you find the right place, build strong relationships with the people you work with. Great teamwork and leveraging each other’s strengths is vital to the success of a nonprofit.
People who work well together are important for your nonprofit, but it’s also important to understand who you’re helping and how they need help. Try keeping an open mind and listen to the stories of the people you help. You never know what someone might be going through.
If you want to learn more about Greater Lansing Food Bank, you can reach them by clicking one of the buttons below.