DETROIT, July 25, 2022 – In an effort to increase access to nutrient-rich options for those in need, Michigan food pantries are invited to apply for grant funding to help enhance their infrastructure and programming. United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM), in collaboration with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Cross Complete of Michigan, launched a grant program with the goal that all clients visiting these pantries will have access to nutrient-rich foods including dairy, fruit and vegetables. The program contains two grant categories tailored to food pantries’ needs, including:
- Dairy Foods Grant: Food pantries are eligible to apply for up to $500 in dairy match funding. If a food pantry purchases dairy foods from their food bank or a local retailer, they can receive matching funds to purchase additional dairy foods. Eligible dairy foods include milk, cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese.
- Food Pantry Infrastructure Grant: Food pantries may apply for up to $2,500 in funds to improve pantry infrastructure in support of the distribution of dairy foods and fresh produce. Examples of infrastructure requests to support dairy include coolers, transportation and maintenance of refrigeration equipment.
This program aims to help reduce the number of people in Michigan facing hunger and food insecurity. According to 2021 statistics from Feeding America, there are 25 counties in Michigan where 15% or more of the population is food insecure. The numbers of food-insecure children in Michigan are even higher, as there are 12 counties in which 20% or more of the children are food insecure. “Blue Cross is working diligently to improve Michigan’s health in collaborative, intentional ways,” said Ken Hayward, vice president and special assistant to the president for Community Relations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Food pantries serve as an important access point for people experiencing food insecurity to get the nourishment and nutrition they need. These grants will enhance how food pantries operate and offer them the resources to sustain their programs, in turn strengthening Michigan’s food ecosystem.” “Partnering with Blue Cross and Blue Cross Complete on this grant program is imperative to UDIM,” said Cortney Freeland, director of Health and Wellness at the United Dairy Industry of Michigan. “Working with our partners to help decrease hunger and food insecurity in Michigan has always been a priority to our company and the Michigan dairy farmers we represent. This impactful initiative will make it easier for food pantries to provide more nutritious dairy foods, vegetables, and other healthy options for those in need.” ”As a Medicaid health plan, Blue Cross Complete aims to connect the communities we serve with a network of support systems,” said Paul Loffreda, Blue Cross Complete of Michigan market president. “Without basic necessities, such as wholesome food, it’s unlikely that a person can focus on their health or the health of their family. Blue Cross Complete is pleased to collaborate on this project and assist organizations that provide a stable food supply to the community.” Grant applications for the 2022 calendar year are due September 30, 2022. Applications must be submitted using the online application. Visit the Food Pantry Grant Program webpage for further details. # # # 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.