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NEWAYGO COUNTY, MI – Food insecurity continues to plague the needy in Newaygo County. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, the TrueNorth Food Pantry was accessed by an average of 577 Households per month. During those months, a total of 53 Households, representing 137 individuals, were first time clients; people, who for the first time in their lives had to ask TrueNorth for help feeding themselves and their families. An additional 304 Households, or 775 individuals, accessed Mobile Food Trucks at TrueNorth in that same time period; even during the cold winter months.

While summer is usually a time of fun in the sun for most people, those still struggling to put adequate food on their tables find the summer months to be an especially hard time. Students, who during the school year were provided free or reduced lunches and sometimes even breakfast at school, are now home during the day and must be fed. Any money that might have been saved due to lower utility bills in the summer is quickly eaten up by higher food costs, and the spiral of poverty continues.

A great way to help the hungry in your community is to donate fresh produce – a food item that those who are struggling rarely get to enjoy. TrueNorth is calling all gardeners and growers to take part in their annual Plant a Row for Hunger campaign by planting an extra row of produce in their garden or field. When the row ripens, donate the produce to the Food Pantry at TrueNorth and help feed the many local families and individuals who are hungry. Even if “extra rows” are not deliberately planted, readers are encouraged to donate any “excess” fresh produce from their garden or fields.

Please continue the good-gardener’s tradition of sharing bountiful harvests with others. If you have extra corn, apples, cucumbers, zucchinis, squash, tomatoes, or any other fruits or vegetables, please bring them to the TrueNorth Service Center at 6308 S. Warner Ave., just south of Fremont, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. You may also set up a time for drop-off by calling 924-0641, and you are encouraged to call ahead if you have a large donation that will require extra help to unload. For more information, please also visit www.truenorthservices.org .

If you have questions regarding Plant a Row for Hunger or the TrueNorth Food Pantry, please contact Brad Hastings at (231) 924-0641, ext. 124, or bhastings@truenorthservices.org. Financial donations are also much appreciated to help stock the Food Pantry shelves. You can make a gift online by visiting their website and clicking “Donate Now” to find a link to a secure online giving form where you can select to have your gift support the Pantry. Gifts by check should be made payable to “TrueNorth” with “Food Pantry” on the memo line and mailed to TrueNorth Community Services, PO Box 149, Fremont, MI  49412.

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