Combating Hunger in Clare County – More than 340 Local Area Families Receive Food

On Saturday, October 29, more than 340 households received food at the former Clare County Transit Corporation facility in Harrison . The food distribution was the second event of the mobile food panty and nutritional education project conducted by the Community Nutrition Network with the help of many volunteers. The food distributions are held on a monthly basis at various locations within Clare County . The next food distribution will be on November 19 at the Farwell High School located at 399 E Michigan St. in Farwell beginning at 11:00AM.

The volunteers distributed 17,000 pounds of food which included cereals, baking mix, beef stew, tomato soup, spaghetti sauce, canned diced tomatoes, baked beans, spaghetti, long grain rice, crackers, assorted breads and baked goods, pudding, celery, potatoes, apples, canned pears, and pomegranate juice cocktail. With each participant receiving more than 50 pounds of food, many were grateful not only for the food, but also for the volunteers who helped carry the food along the line and to the participants’ vehicles. The Clare County Community Foundation provided the funding for the food distribution. The Community Nutrition Network purchased the majority of the food from the Mid-Michigan Food Bank with the Food Bank contributing the fresh fruits and vegetables and several other items.

Many of the participants also visited the nutritional education section to talk to the nutritional educators. Thy also received nutritious recipes, tips for shopping on a budget, healthy living recommendations for both children and adults, information on proper portion sizes and types sweeteners and sugars, and copies of the Healthy Eating Plate, a graphic which shows how much of what types of foods people should have on their plate and which foods are healthiest. The nutritional education section also contained a display of a sample Healthy Eating Plate and a display of a plate of food from a fast food restaurant compared to a plate of home prepared food. Not only was the home prepared food more nutritious, it was also much less expensive!

The Community Nutrition Network expresses its gratitude to the many organizations who helped make this month’s food distribution and nutritional education event such a success. They include the Clare County Community Foundation for the funding, the Clare County Transit Corporation for use of the facility, the Clare County Sheriff’s Department for the reserve officers who provided traffic control and community relations, Docs’ Dumpsters for the forklift and driver to unload the truck packed with the 8 ½ tons of food, the Mid-Michigan Food Bank for the additional food, MidMichigan Medical Center Clare and the Stone Soup Project for the nutritional information, Glens Market of Harrison for the grocery bags, and the Clare County Council on Aging for photocopying support.

More than 50 volunteers helped out at this month’s food distribution. The Community Nutrition Network thanks the many individuals who volunteered their time, as well as the following organizations for providing volunteers: The Gathering United Methodist Church, Clare First United Methodist Church Youth Group, the Clare County Transit Corporation, the Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Stone Soup Project. Additional thanks go to the many people who attended the event and volunteered their time to help unpack the food and assist participants in transporting their food.

The Community Nutrition Network was created earlier this year to help combat hunger in Clare County and to increase awareness of the importance of good nutrition and developing healthy eating habits. The Community Nutrition Network was formed as part of the Central Michigan District Health Department’s (CMDHD’s) Together We Can Health Improvement Initiative. Members of the Community Nutrition Network include representatives from CMDHD, the Clare Assembly of God, the Clare County Council on Aging, DHS, The Gathering United Methodist Church, MidMichigan Medical Center Clare, MSU Extension, Saint Athanasius Catholic Church, the Ten-Sixteen Network, the Stone Soup Project, and the Whitehouse Restaurant, as well as many citizen volunteers.

If you are interested in donating funding and/or volunteering your time with the Community Nutrition Network, contact Pastor Mike Simon of The Gathering United Methodist Church via email to pastormike@gatherchurch.org or via telephone at 989.539.1445.