(02/12/13) - Every year during Black History Month, The Genesee District Library takes a moment to honor men, women and organizations who are making strides in our community.
We continue our Portrait of Excellence series with the next honoree - The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan has been working to "Change the Face of Hunger" for over 30 years.
"I think it's truly reflective of what The Food Bank means to the community," said Bill Kerr, of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
Starting out as the Genesee County Food Bank in a small warehouse in 1981, today, the Food Bank helps the hungry in 22 counties, distributing nearly 22 million pounds of food.
One look at the rows of shelves and freezers, and it's clear just how great the need is in the community.
"It started as a small building, we added on one addition. Then we added on another addition, then the Landaal Food Recovery center. We just purchased the old Peerless warehouse factory, and that will be the new Hunger Center," Kerr said.
The Food Bank works with nearly 400 agencies to get food in the hands of those who need it most.
National and local donors support the organization, along with the community.
Every week, Mid-Michigan high schools compete in the ABC12 School Spirit Challenge, helping to collect thousands of pounds of food for the organization.
"Doesn't matter if you live in the north end of the city, the south end of the city, the east or west - kids from all the schools are making this happen in their neighborhoods," Kerr said.
The Food Bank also has created a number of programs to service the community, like the Senior Box Program and the Weekend Backpack Program - which provides meals for kids.
"I hope the food bank will be out of business down the road, but I don't think that's possible. But if we're not able to put ourselves out of business, I hope that we continue to grow and continue to meet the needs of the community. And making sure that seniors, children, or no one goes hungry," Kerr said.
The Genesee District Library will honor the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan this Saturday at its annual Black History Month Brunch. The event is sold out.
ABC12 Main Station