A grant opportunity is now available for Michigan food pantries seeking to expand their infrastructure in an effort to address food and nutrition insecurity. United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM), in collaboration with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Cross Complete of Michigan, launched the grant program to increase the capacity of local food pantries to provide nutrient-rich fresh food options that require refrigeration.
Food pantries may apply to receive a refrigeration unit to improve access to healthy food options like milk, cheese, fruit, vegetables, yogurt and cottage cheese. Food pantries are also eligible for $250 in dairy match funding to purchase additional dairy foods for their pantry.
“Addressing social determinants of health, including access to nutritious food, is a critical element of our mission to improve the health and well-being of our communities and seniors,” said Ken Hayward, vice president and special assistant to the president for Community Relations at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Through this grant program, we are able to equip food pantries across the state with the necessary resources and tools to improve their capacity to offer essential and healthy options.”
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.
“As a longtime advocate of nutrition security for all, UDIM is proud to collaborate with Blue Cross on this initiative,” said Brianna Henton, MS, RDN, health and wellness director at United Dairy Industry of Michigan. “We make it a priority to proactively work with Michigan food banks on behalf of our Michigan dairy farm families. Access to nutrient-rich foods like dairy is not only essential to help close the hunger gap in our communities, but also provides the nutrition needed to maintain healthy bodies.”
“Our Community Outreach team connects our members with local food pantries to address food insecurity,” said Blue Cross Complete Market President Paul Loffreda. “These organizations have expressed the need to provide fresh, nutritious food options. This grant program goes a long way toward addressing the importance of proper onsite refrigeration for local food pantries.”
Grant applications are due July 14, 2023. 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
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, provides health benefits to nearly 5.2 million members. The company is committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses and individuals. Based in Detroit since 1939, BCBSM supports impactful community initiatives and provides leadership in improving health care across Michigan. BCBSM is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. 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.