(01/10/14) - The new year comes with a few major obstacles standing in the way for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
The bottom line - the Food Bank is short on food.
If you take a quick walk through the Food Bank's warehouse in Flint, you'll find entire rows of empty shelves, and staff members are scrambling to fill them back up.
2014 brings some rather big and new challenges for the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan in Flint.
"I've never seen it this empty. I've been here a long time. It's the worst I've ever seen to start a new year off," said Tracy Fowler-Johnston, of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
Between Thanksgiving and New Year's, the Food Bank provided close to 3 million pounds of food for people in need - that's the most it's ever put out during the holiday rush. That low supply can be blamed partly on problems related to bad weather and power outages throughout the 22 counties the Food Bank serves.
"People not getting out to help our businesses so we can get them replenished, and then trucking itself, our companies we work with, getting the product here," Fowler-Johnston said.
As a result, the Food Bank's backpack program could take a hit. It helps more than 4,000 students every weekend.
"Our coordinator, I spoke with her yesterday. She has some concerns about making sure we have the product to put in them now that school is back in session," Fowler-Johnston said.
Adding to the concerns, the Food Bank is still $30,000 short of it's $940,000 holiday campaign goal.
"We really depend on that to sustain us through the winter months, to continue feeding our neighbors in need," Fowler-Johnston said.
The campaign has now been extended through the end of January. Over two decades, the goal has always been reached and staff members remain optimistic.
"You can walk into the Food Bank. We'd be happy to provide a tour. It's a community effort, and I know that our donors are going to come through. We've always been able to do it, but we do need help," Fowler-Johnston said.
The Food Bank's holiday ornaments are still for sale at many Kroger stores across Mid Michigan, and online donations are being accepted as well. To donate online, click HERE. www.fbem.org/
ABC12 Main Station