BURTON (WJRT) - (06/15/16) - Many kids get lunch at school for free or at a reduced cost, but they often go hungry in the summer. A Mid-Michigan food pantry and a retailer are working together to help low income kids make sure there's good food waiting for them at home.
The Holy Redeemer Outreach Food Pantry in Burton helps about 20 families a day in Burton and the south side of Flint.
"We have a lot of the working poor that come here. We have a lot of people that are elderly, who've been sick and unable to work any longer," said Delores Digiacomo, of the Holy Redeemer Outreach Food Pantry.
During the summer, there are more children at home, looking for a square meal.
"I think that's absolutely true and I think it's a real concern and one reason why we have people coming in all summer long," Digiacomo said.
Meijer has a program called Simply Give that makes it easier for customers to donate to food pantries like that at Holy Redeemer.
"If you purchase a card for $10, it will go toward the food pantry. Then Meijer will donate an additional $10 to make it a $20 donation," said Mel Newhouse, the Center Road Meijer store director.
The cards are located throughout Meijer stores.
Nutrition experts say those who have been exposed to lead because of the Flint water emergency should eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and that's what Holy Redeemer has been buying through the Simply Give program.
"People didn't seem to be interested in taking the fresh. Now, it's like, they're taking it," said Mary Hall, of the Holy Redeemer Outreach Food Pantry.
"If we don't have enough fresh vegetables or fresh fruit, that's the place we go, to our Meijer card and we buy it that way," Digiacomo said.
The families that are helped monthly by the Holy Redeemer food pantry appreciate knowing good food is available because of the Simply Give program.
"I'm so grateful for it because it helps us to help others. And I love doing that," Digiacomo said.
Each Meijer supports a different food pantry.