In the face of increasing need, the Greater Lansing Food Bank (GLFB) is rising to the occasion.
GLFB had a record high for fundraising with its Envelope Campaign for the 2009-2010 year. Its great success is enabling it to increase the next year’s budget.
“We beat last year’s donations by about $40,000,” said Terry Link, executive director of the GLFB. “And last year was a record breaker.”
Donations from the Envelope Campaign totaled more than $1 million, which will help feed the hungry in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties.
“Given the economic situation, it’s really great,” said Link.
Although the donations skyrocketed this year, there has also been a dramatic increase in families in need. According to Link, hundreds of new families who have never needed food in the past have been at the food bank in recent months.
“I think everyone knows somebody that is struggling,” Link said. “Food is often the tradeoff in a poor economy, but sometimes you’ve got to bite the lip and ask for help.”
With the extra funds the GLFB is pulling in, it will be building upon current programs and looking into new resources for producing food. Current programs include a food movers program and the garden project, through which GLFB allocates food to other agencies and pantries in the area.
“Farms in the area welcome us to come and get remaining food,” said Link.
One of its current goals is to find farmers or growers to contract with to grow specific foods to address its most common needs. Link said this year, the best the food bank will be able to do is to set the program up and get the land prepared.
“Next year we’ll be ready to go,” said Link. “It ultimately makes more sense to grow what
GLFB is always looking for extra support. Whether the volunteers are picking food, delivering it or donating goods, GLFB welcomes the additional help.
“We can always find a niche where we can put [volunteers] to work,” said Link.
The organization will soon be posting a wish list on its Web site.
One of GLFB’s biggest events, its Empty Plate Dinner, will take place on May 13 at the Kellogg Center. The event will include live and silent auctions, a dinner prepared by the area’s top chefs and empty plates designed by children in local school districts. Cost to attend this event is $125 per person.