Cold winter slows distribution for Food Bank of Eastern Michigan - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Cold winter slows distribution for Food Bank of Eastern Michigan

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(02/28/14) - The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan's Flint warehouse looks like it has a ton of food right now.

"It's deceiving. I think we're about two weeks behind. This food already should have been out," said Tracy Fowler-Johnston, of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

The Food Bank serves 22 counties, but over the last two months, frigid winter conditions have slowed down distribution.

"Those trucks don't run when it's 30 degrees below out there. They won't start. Icy roads, the snow storms," said Kathleen Payton, of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

At the same time, less food has been coming in to the warehouse.

"It's our manufacturers that give us food, it's our drivers getting our product here. A whole variety of things are going together and working against us," Fowler-Johnston said.

Along with those low temperatures, come more people in need.

"Heating costs are going up, so people are actually choosing between paying for heat or paying for food. With that, they're calling for assistance," Fowler-Johnston said.

The Food Bank's weekend back pack program has taken the biggest hit. Over the last month, the number of students taking home backpacks of food jumped to more than 5,000.

"Schools are calling me and saying, 'we need to add another 24, we need to add another 48 kids,' and it does have to do a lot with the weather," Payton said.

With less food available, students are going home with a little bit less.

"We're shipping out what we have to all the schools, but the schools are seeing it a little down. The variety of the snacks is not what it was a few months ago when the trucks were coming in," Payton said.

Payton hopes that potential donors and sponsors will understand what's at stake and find a way to help the Food Bank weather through.

"$100 per child for the entire school year is not much, but for 5,000 children, that's a lot," she said.

For more information on the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and it's backpack program, click HERE

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