Thursday, Oct. 27 — Next July, the Greater Lansing Food Bank and Mid-Michigan Food Bank plan to merge into one food bank to better suit the needs of the hungry in the Mid-Michigan area.
Joe Wald, the executive director of Greater Lansing Food Bank, said there are still a lot of details that still need to be worked out, such as finding a location. (There are two sites under consideration.)
Wald said he thinks that merging the two food banks will create greater efficiency for both. The main goal is to “create the best system possible to feed people in the community who might otherwise go hungry,” Wald said.
Wald said that although there is no name yet, the goal is to have the two food banks operating as one by next summer because the demand is increasing and changes need to follow. The Greater Lansing Food Bank has helped approximately 50,000 people in need within the last few years, and because the Mid-Michigan Food Bank serves seven counties, it has reached even more people.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ll do it,” said Wald.
The Mid-Michigan Food bank program is a part of the American Red Cross, while the Greater Lansing Food Bank is an independent organization that raises money for food. Within the GLFB, there are food movers that rescue and redistribute extra food from places ranging from banquet centers to dorm halls; the food is brought back to the food bank. Area grocers also allow the food movers to take food that is nearing expiration, but still good to eat, instead of waiting to let it spoil in the store.
The merger has been under discussion for some time as a way to improve efficiency, reduce costs and make the distribution process simpler. Wald says that his organization’s “ability to adapt depends on the support from the community, which has been wonderful.”