The Food Bank will be closed Monday, May 27 in observation of Memorial Day – please do not place orders of case counted product for that day. The Food Bank will re-open at 10 am on Tuesday, May 28th for regular business.
Food Banks statewide are being asked to help step up the level of record-keeping that is being done by agencies handling TEFAP products. We are therefore asking that a new version of the mandatory distribution log be in use by most agencies by the start of 2012 – mobile pantries, snack programs, and group homes are exempt. Both the log and page-long release to be posted at those agencies should be customized with the agency’s name. Agencies should also post the generic income guidelines for TEFAP.
EDIT 2/6/2013: Emma at Access of West Michigan has designed a vertically-oriented, space-saving version of the TEFAP distribution log and gotten it approved for use by the MDE. You can download it here.
Do you issue a client newsletter or put handouts in your waiting area? Please consider sharing the following information about the Center for Civil Justice with your clients. The Center for Civil Justice specializes in helping low income families obtain the full amount of benefits for which they are eligible.
Advocates Who Address Your Need for Food
The Center for Civil Justice advocates for low income families regarding their food and nutrition needs. As an advocacy group, we work with clients to ensure they receive the maximum amount of food stamps (SNAP) from the state, determine if they are eligible, and address any problems they may be having on their case. Our services are free, and we assist families in any county within the state of Michigan.
Here is an example of how CCJ can help people who are struggling with their food cases.
Miss. M is a single 38 year old woman who is disabled and struggling to make ends meet. Miss M. does not have any children nor does she have any family in the local area who can assist her. She struggles between obtaining food, and her medication due to her disability. Miss M. received a letter indicating that her food assistance was being decreased and she didn’t understand why. Her income had not changed, and she was concerned about how she was going to get food, as $60 a month is not enough to live on. Miss M. came across our phone number and called hoping that we can help her get her food assistance back to where it was. Miss M. was upset not knowing how she would get the means for food for the remainder of the month. CCJ was able to advocate for Miss M. on her behalf to find out why her food benefits were decreased. As it turned out, there was a coding error in the system regarding her disability and it decreased her benefits. This error was corrected and Miss M. started to receive the full benefits once again. Since there was an error on her case, she received a back payment for the months her benefits had been decreased.
If you experience a problem with your food stamps being decreased and you don’t understand why, please call our advocates at 1-800-481-4989 or visit us at www.ccj-mi.org.
Remember that agency survey we asked you to complete last fall and over the holidays as the first step in the Hunger in America Study? We got over 600 of them completed! That means we’re in really good shape to move on to the client survey portion of the study, which will provide us with representative demographic and food security data on the people who come to programs like yours. Ultimately, that information will help us obtain more product for you to distribute.
There’s one little wrinkle, though. It’s going to take a lot of dedicated assistance from volunteer survey administrators to get through all of the site visits this spring and summer. That’s why we’re hoping to secure your help. We’d like to ask you to distribute information about volunteering to your staff and/or supporters by whatever method you prefer. There’s a basic blurb we’ve been posting through VolunteerMatch, with colleges, etc:
What does hunger look like in America? Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank is participating in a nationwide Hunger Study to learn just that. We need volunteer survey administrators to make it happen. Your responsibilities will include receiving training, speaking with charity food program clients, selecting who will complete client surveys, and providing them with on-site technological assistance as needed. We hope you’ll commit to 3-12 hours per week for at least 6 weeks during the survey period (April – August). Contact Elianna Bootzin at 616-389-6349 or EliannaB@FeedingAmericaWestMichigan.org to get on board.
If you’d like more details, either for your knowledge or to get a longer piece written up, you can also contact Elianna Bootzin at 616-389-6349 or EliannaB@FeedingAmericaWestMichigan.org.
|Are you looking for a good source of protein to give to your clients? Try our new non-meat protein item, #4230200007 – DRY ROASTED SOY NUTS. They make a very nutritious, easy snack.
Edit 11/20/2012: You can access the Agency Survey here.
Questions on either of these issues may be directed to Elianna Bootzin at either email@example.com or 616-389-6349.
Agency Survey Coming to You in October from Westat
As you may have seen in your August statement enclosure, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank is participating in Hunger in America 2014, a national study of charitable food assistance in America conducted by the network of 200 Feeding America food banks. The national network has partnered with Westat, a research firm, to design and execute the study.
Westat will contact your agency by email in a couple of weeks to direct you to an online survey to gain a better understanding of the types of programs, services and resources provided by the agencies in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Please take your time in completing this survey – you can take more than one sitting. Your agency’s specific answers will be confidential – we will only see the combined results.
Your agency may also be selected for on-site interviews with clients at your program site(s). If your agency is selected, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank will contact you with more information in early 2013.
NEW: Food Bank Publication of Agency Information Policy
Unless otherwise requested by a specific organization, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank reserves the right to publicly share the following information for all of its partner agencies by means including but not limited to press releases, newsletters, www.feedingamericawestmichigan.org, Facebook, and Twitter: organization name, program name, city, county, and number of pounds of food bank product acquired in any given time period. Any additional information intended for public consumption will be acquired through communications with an agency representative, who will have the opportunity to restrict what gets published.
If you do NOT wish to have the basic information listed above shared publicly, please submit an opt out form (you may use the electronic version below or return the bottom of the hard copy mailed with your September statement).
Please note: because we have never put this intention into writing before, we will be waiting a short time before putting it into effect. If your organization does not wish to be included, your opt out is due by October 15, 2012, at which point we may begin putting a generic listing of our agencies (names and counties only) on our website for transparency purposes. Opt outs received afterwards may take a few days to remove.
Electronic Opt-Out Form – By filling in the following fields, your organization indicates that it does NOT want its basic information (name, city, county, pounds) distributed in any public venue by Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank.