This fall season Michigan Nonprofit Association’s (MNA) continued its efforts to involve staff in civic engagement opportunities by coordinating an organization wide food collection intended to create complete meal boxes for local families in need. Opportunities like these help MNA staff connect with the local community, service organizations, and learn more about an existing community challenge. Food security is a real challenge for many individuals and families.
Since the beginning of October, MNA collected more than 200 food items to fill food boxes for six families. The food boxes were distributed through Northwest Initiative in Lansing to families who have a student participating in the weekend backpack program at a local school and to a family who has a student enrolled in a LEAGUE Michigan school in the Detroit area.
Northwest Initiative is a neighborhood based organization who serves individuals in the northwest region of Lansing. One of their programs includes the weekend backpack program that provides a backpack full of food for students who would otherwise not have consistent access to food for the days they are not in school. The food boxes made up of the items donated by MNA staff were designed to help feed the student and their family for the five days of the Thanksgiving break when the student would not receive breakfast or lunch at school.
Northwest Initiative works closely with the Greater Lansing Food Bank to help increase the food stability of the families they serve. The boxes donated by MNA not only support a student and their family but allow Northwest Initiative to serve additional families with the food resources they receive from the food bank and individual donations.
The Thanksgiving holiday offers a reminder about the critical role food has for families and communities but it is important to remember the need exists year round. Because of the success of this project and the partnerships it helped MNA develop, future food collection efforts can be coordinated year round as the community need arises.
Submitted by Chelsea Martin Program Coordinator, Michigan Nonprofit Association