Michigan Coronavirus: Helping seniors stay home with virtual food drive

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LANSING, Mich. (WJMN) – A virtual food drive organized by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Aging and Adult Services Agency and the Food Bank Council of Michigan is raising money to provide food boxes to seniors who are staying home to protect themselves from COVID-19. 

MDHHS and the Food Bank Council are asking Michigan residents to make monetary donations on the virtual food drive website to buy food for the project. 

One box is filled with 33 food items that provide for 22 well-balanced, nutritious meals. Each box contains breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes for seniors who are food insecure. A donation of $28 pays for an entire box containing food such as chunk white canned chicken, green beans, peanut butter and low-sodium diced tomatoes. Boxes are distributed from local food banks through Area Agencies on Aging and delivered by volunteers.   

“Michigan’s aging adult population is especially vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Dr. Alexis Travis, director of the Aging and Adult Services Aging. “It’s critical that seniors stay home, but they also need healthy food. That’s why the virtual food drive is so important.”

The Michigan National Guard is packing the first 10,000 boxes at Gleaners’ Community Food Bank’s warehouse in Pontiac. The Food Bank Council is routing the boxes to Area Agencies on Aging across the state, but more food is needed to feed seniors.  

“The COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented additional barriers to food access,” says Dr. Dawn Opel, director of research and strategic initiatives for the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “This program is an example of how we are creating innovative food distribution models to bring food to people where they are—to alleviate household food insecurity and to prevent the spread of the virus for those without transportation and other supports.” 

Seniors who need extra support at this time can now sign up for assistance, including meal delivery, delivery of non-perishable food items, and daily wellness-check calls, through the MDHHS coronavirus website, or by contacting their local Area Agency on Aging.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.  

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