RELEASE

Grants awarded to 37 food pantries to combat food insecurity in Michigan

Meghan O'Brien

| 4 min read

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Cross Complete of Michigan and United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) announced $156,000 in grant funding as part of the Food Pantry Grant Program to increase the capacity of local food pantries to provide nutrient-rich, fresh food options that require refrigeration. The goal is for community members visiting these pantries to have improved access to healthy food options like milk, cheese, fruit, vegetables, yogurt and cottage cheese. Thirty-seven food pantries will receive a refrigeration unit, valued up to $7,000, and $250 in funding to purchase dairy foods for their pantries.
The food pantries, located in 20 counties, serve more than 17,000 Michigan residents monthly. Out of the 37 awarded organizations, 35 (94%) identified seniors as a population that their food pantry serves, just one of several population groups facing higher rates of hunger and food insecurity. The USDA Economic Research Service reported in 2021 that the risk of food insecurity is 7.4x greater in veterans than non-veterans ages 18 to 64. Three of the food pantries awarded identified veterans as a specific population served.According to a report released by the Michigan Food Security Council in 2022, approximately 1.8 million Michigan residents face food insecurity. Also, during the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity in Michigan increased to around 1.9 million people, including about 550,000 children.
“Blue Cross’ dedicated efforts to improving the health and well-being of our communities, children, seniors and veterans continues today with our award recipients,” said Ken Hayward, vice president and special assistant to the president for Community Relations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Our partnership with Blue Cross Complete of Michigan and United Dairy Industry of Michigan aligns with our goal of not only increasing access to healthy and nutritious foods in areas that need it most but reducing food insecurity, a key social determinant of health, in those communities with needed resources to ensure lasting impact.”
“The Food Pantry Grant Program continues to make a huge impact on many lives by giving access to healthy foods, including milk and other nutritious dairy products. UDIM is proud to be a part of this ongoing initiative to help overcome nutrition insecurity in our Michigan communities. Our strong partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan allows us to expand our reach and impact,” said Cortney Freeland, vice president of Strategic Partnerships at the United Dairy Industry of Michigan.
“Blue Cross Complete knows access to nutrient-rich foods is an essential component to living a healthy lifestyle,” said Paul Loffreda, Blue Cross Complete of Michigan market president. “Continuing to support local food pantries through this grant will be beneficial to the overall health of our state for years to come.”
For a full overview of the Michigan food pantries receiving an award from the Food Pantry Grant Program, see here.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides health benefits to more than 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies residing outside the state. The company has been committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses, individuals and seniors for more than 80 years. Beyond health care coverage, BCBSM supports impactful community initiatives and provides leadership in improving health care. For more information, visit bcbsm.com and MiBluesPerspectives.com.
About Blue Cross Complete of Michigan
Blue Cross Complete of Michigan is contracted by the state of Michigan to provide medical services to eligible Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan beneficiaries in 32 counties. Blue Cross Complete of Michigan is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit mibluecrosscomplete.com.
About the United Dairy Industry of Michigan
The United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) is dedicated to serving Michigan’s hard-working dairy farm families and promoting Michigan’s locally produced dairy products. UDIM is the umbrella organization for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council of Michigan. These non-profit organizations provide dairy product promotion and nutrition education services on behalf of their funding members.

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MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association