McLaren Macomb Hospital donates a $10,000 check to the Macomb Food Program to aid county residents experiencing heightened food insecurity due to the pandemic.

McLaren Macomb Hospital donates a $10,000 check to the Macomb Food Program to aid county residents experiencing heightened food insecurity due to the pandemic.

Photo provided by McLaren Macomb Hospital


McLaren Macomb donates $10,000 to Macomb Food Program

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published May 11, 2021

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MACOMB COUNTY — Food insecurity is one of the most common, but often forgotten, repercussions of major crises.

The Macomb Food Program has addressed local food insecurity for over 40 years and recently received a major financial boost, courtesy of McLaren Macomb Hospital, in the form of a $10,000 donation.

“The pandemic has caused an unbelievable amount of heartache and anguish within our community, not least of which is the rise of food insecurity,” said McLaren Macomb President and CEO Tom Brisse. “More and more families have been forced to turn to local food pantries, and our hope for this donation is that it inspires others to donate or in any way support the amazing mission of the Macomb Food Program.”

Dave Jones, a spokesperson for McLaren, said the hospital system has previously hosted food drives for the MFP and that the existing relationship encouraged further partnership.

Donations relied on how many people got involved on social media. The hospital promised to make a sizable donation that coincided with a number of Facebook shares. Jones said the post went live around Thanksgiving and was shared more than 450 times, reaching over 15,800 people.

“Our main goal and motivation [was] to increase the awareness of the organization and the need caused by food insecurity,” Jones said, adding that the money solely comes from McLaren. “We have always sponsored many events at varied levels and dollar amounts. But this is one of the more substantial donations.”

Linda Azar is the division director at Macomb Community Action for children and family services. MCA evaluates and assesses needs related to food, housing, utilities and more, in different areas of the county.

MFP is under the MCA umbrella, serving pantries and hunger-mission organizations at no cost. The volume is huge when compared with Gleaners Community Food Bank, Azar said, and the reach in Macomb County is more concentrated.

COVID-19 led to curbside pickups, while MCA received support from the USDA for commodities programs.

Azar said the $10,000 donation will be used to purchase food that supplements diets for people short on SNAP funds — as well as purchase food for the network of over 70 Macomb County pantries, with every dollar subsidizing three meals.

“Our numbers are through the roof,” Azar said. “We’re actually providing food to the pantries on a weekly basis, where in the past, it was on a biweekly basis.”

A traditional year includes approximately 2.8 million pounds of donated food, she said, but in the past year, that number climbed to approximately 3.3 million pounds of food that served over 220,000 people.

Azar said unemployment, reduced school lunches and seniors not able to shop at grocery stores have contributed to the uptick.

“The population you would expect has really drastically changed,” she added. “At this point, it’s anyone and everyone.”

To learn more about the Macomb Food Program or to make a donation, visit mca.macombgov.org/mca-es-food.

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