Food Bank of Eastern Michigan extends holiday campaign, partners with Flint Firebirds to restock the shelves for New Year

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FLINT (WJRT) (01/03/18)--The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan's Lapeer Road facility in Flint is looking a little bare, following the big holiday rush, one that saw more than 5,000,000 pounds of food distributed between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

"It was excessively busy this year. I think any of our agencies will admit to that. There were more folks looking for a little big out help," said Cathy Blankenship, the Food Bank's Vice President of Development.

As a result, the Food Bank once again begins a New Year with plenty of empty shelves, and a need to restock quickly.

"This stuff goes out fast. We have two, huge warehouses, each 67,000 square feet. Within two weeks, they're completely turned over. All of this food will be gone in a week," said Blankenship.

She says agencies have been calling with bigger orders this week, due in part to Mid-Michigan's frigid temperatures.

"The heating bills are going up and people have to choose. Am I going to pay my bills or buy food for my family? In this kind of weather, you can't afford to not pay that heating bill," said Blankenship.

Also of concern, the fact that the Food Bank did not hit its holiday fundraising goal of $840,000 dollars. The campaign has been extended through the end of the month.

"We're hoping to raise another $100,000 dollars. You can do that by going to the Food Bank website and donating on-line. Every dollar that somebody donates, we can provide six meals."

Tied in with all of this, the Flint Firebirds are hosting "Firebirds Fight Hunger Month", a big initiative designed to give the Food Bank a boost for the start of the year.

"Six games in January, starting this Saturday night at seven o'clock, we host the Erie Otters. All fans that bring five non-perishable items receive a complimentary ticket," said Firebirds President Costa Papista.

This is the third season the Firebirds have lent their support.

"Last year we raised over $14,000 for the Food Bank and collected over 10,000 pounds of food. We're hoping to better that this season," said Papista.

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