Where Our Food Comes From

Most of our food comes from local food companies. We also purchase much of our food or get it through the USDA and national food donors.

Donations

Food Banks were created to reclaim food that would otherwise go to waste and redistribute it to people in need – starve the landfill so to speak.  That ideal is still at the heart of a significant percentage of the food we obtain and distribute.  For example, our partnership with Kellogg Company doing what is called “line rescue” keeps cereal that for a number of reasons is unsalable, out of the landfill and into the hands of a person in need. Thanks to our affiliation with Feeding America, we capture donations of food from large corporations—national supermarket chains and large food manufacturers.  Locally, we are supported by food manufacturers, grocery stores, farmers, and community food drives.

Purchased Food

Because we can’t always anticipate what foods will be donated through food companies, grassroots food collections and food we get from the USDA, the Food Bank must subsidize that food with items we purchase specifically because of their high demand from agencies and clients. These staple items include things like canned fruits and vegetables, protein items like peanut butter, tuna fish and dry beans and other items like pasta and sauce, mac n’ cheese, instant potatoes, soup, shelf-stable milk, complete dinners and baking mix. We also purchase frozen meat items like ground beef and hot dogs. This ensures that the Food Bank can provide these highly sought out items, even when donations cannot keep up with demand.

In addition, we purchase food from area farms through the Farm to Food Bank program. Local farmers are contracted to grow specific crops for distribution during our Fresh Food Initiative. This program supports local farms and the local economy, while getting Michigan-grown produce to those who need it most. Through the Farm to Food Bank program, we have been able to significantly increase the amount of fresh produce that we offer.

USDA

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) provides food banks across the nation with an allotment of money to spend on truckloads of food throughout the year. These loads include items like frozen meat, canned fruit and vegetables, tomato products, shelf-stable milk, rice, rolled oats, dried beans, peanut butter and other items. The Food Bank works with other Michigan food banks, pooling their resources, to maximize buying power. Throughout the year, the USDA also provides “bonus” loads of product that are at a surplus during that time of the year. The program is coordinated through the Michigan Food Bank Council.