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Hunger, homelessness and poverty affect far too many in Newaygo County.

One in eight people in Newaygo County face hunger, with one in six children at risk of being food insecure, according to Feeding America West Michigan. Over the past year, approximately 265 Newaygo County residents have experienced homelessness. There were 14.1 percent of residents in poverty in 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

TrueNorth Community Services is doing its part during in Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month in November, using the opportunity to raise awareness about the community issues while also addressing them.

There were 18,881 assists of adults and children in 2018 by TrueNorth Food Programs, which helped provide nourishment and nutrition to their households. The TrueNorth Food Pantry served 8,814 individuals from more than 3,600 households this year through June.

As the Michigan State Housing Development Authority-designated housing resource agency for Newaygo, Lake, and Mason counties, TrueNorth worked with 1,214 adults and children from 457 households in 2018. They needed our help finding shelter, food, resources, comfort and support.

TrueNorth has activities slated for November that strive to keep people safe, fed and warm:

  • The Coats for Kids (& Adults) distribution on Saturday, November 2, from 9 a.m. to noon at the TrueNorth Service Center, 6308 South Warner Avenue in Fremont. Each individual (children and adults wanting a coat) must be present in person; and must either attend school or reside in Newaygo County. Participating adults must bring a photo ID. New and gently-used coats can be donated at 12 sites in Fremont, Grant, Hesperia, Newaygo and White Cloud through October 28. For more details, contact Mike Voyt, Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator, at (231) 924-0641, ext. 119, or mvoyt@truenorthservices.org.
  • Enjoy a home-cooked meal with all the fixings at the Senior Thanksgiving Luncheon, with public seatings at 1 p.m. Wednesday, November 13, at the TrueNorth Service Center in Fremont. To take part, you must RSVP by November 1 by contacting Jennifer Zimmerman, Nutrition and Senior Services Coordinator, at jzimmerman@truenorthservices.org or (231) 924-0641, ext. 151.
  • Senior Harvest Baskets bring delivery of food and personal care item to Newaygo County seniors in need, on Friday, November 15. Donations are accepted through November 1 at TrueNorth. Apply by November 1 to participate by contacting Zimmerman at (231) 924-0641, ext. 151, or jzimmerman@truenorthservices.org.
  • The Feeding America West Michigan Mobile Food Pantry visits the TrueNorth Service Center on Wednesday, November 27. Registration is at 9 a.m. and distribution is at 10 a.m. Participants are asked to bring a container holding up to 50 pounds of food.                                                                                              

Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is November 16 to 24.

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