Comstock Park, MI — August 13, 2015 — Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank today announced a $28,400 grant from the Walmart Foundation to fund continuous advancements in food safety operations. The grant is designed to help Feeding America’s nationwide network of member food banks continue to meet and exceed the standards of food safety across the country.
The funding will be used at Feeding America West Michigan’s Benton Harbor and Cadillac branches, as well as its Comstock Park headquarters.
The grant has already made an impact at the organization. Aided by the Walmart funding, Feeding America West Michigan was able to make the infrastructure improvements needed to pass its first food safety audit from AIB International this June. Feeding America West Michigan will use the remainder of the grant to stay current on the food safety certification standards put forth by AIB, the gold standard for food safety. The Walmart Foundation’s grants range from investments in education and staff training about food safety to equipment and operational upgrades that enhance safe food storage.
“This grant will help the Food Bank meet the growing needs of the people in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula who are struggling to put food on the table,” said Ken Estelle, CEO of Feeding America West Michigan. “We are grateful that the Walmart Foundation is helping equip us with the tools we need to continue to provide safe and nutritious food for more people.”
AIB International is the leading organization protecting the safety of the food supply chain and delivering quality technical and educational programs in the food safety industry. The organization provides the Feeding America network of member food banks with food industry standards that include best practices and legal requirements. Ultimately, ensuring and making ongoing improvements to safe food storage capabilities enables food banks to secure and distribute more food to more agencies, pantries and meal programs that serve people in need.
With food insecurity remaining high throughout the country, the ability to safely distribute more food is critical for food banks. According to the USDA, about 49 million people — including 16 million children — in the United States are food insecure, which means at some point during the year they don’t know where their next meal will come from. In West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, 1 in 7 residents is food insecure.
Through their longstanding commitment to fighting hunger, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation provide donations of both food and funds to Feeding America and its nationwide network of 200 food banks. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation has set goals to provide four billion meals to those in need in the U.S. through 2020.
About Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank. Serving local families in need since 1981, Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank reclaims safe surplus food from farmers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers. We distribute that food through a network of more than 1,100 food pantries, youth programs, and other hunger-relief agencies in 40 counties from the Indiana border through the Upper Peninsula. Each year, an estimated 492,100 people receive food from Feeding America West Michigan. For more information, visit FeedingAmericaWestMichigan.org.