Flint youth find summer employment at the Food Bank through the Summer Youth Initiative program

Because of Coronavirus the Food Bank was only able to bring back a third of their summer youth employees
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 6:22 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) -(07/07/2020) Teen unemployment is reportedly near a staggering 30 percent across the US, more than double what it was at this same time

last year.

The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, one of dozens of companies in mid-Michigan providing summer employment for youth is feeling the impact.

“Last year we had 60 students in our young work force who joined us, this year we reduced that number to 20, said Will Farkas, director of programs and culinary services at the the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.

The Food Bank has reduced its summer youth employees by two thirds because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

SYI is a program run by the Flint Genesee Chamber of Commerce. This year businesses like the food bank, participating in the program also had to follow a new set of COVID-19 mandates from the state.

“We do have them spread out between both of our buildings and of course we are maintaining six feet between everybody. They are required to wear face shields or mask when they are working.

These additional safety protocols, coupled with the fact that food bank is not accepting volunteers at the time, has made some job functions a little more challenging

Farkas said most of the students are performing jobs once done by volunteers. “Most of them are on our sorting line, doing the sorting that our volunteers usually do,” he said.

Teens who are lucky enough to land a job, during these unprecedented times, are taking it all in stride.

“They have been pretty receptive to the new protocols and they understand what’s going on,” Farkas said.

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