Half a dozen charitable organizations across the state were recently awarded $5,000 grants for fighting food insecurity. Feeding the Future Grants are a product of Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan’s Agent Charitable Fund (ACF), which altogether will award $180,000 this year.
Eligible recipients are nominated by their local Farm Bureau Insurance agent and selected by a committee of ACF donors based on the organization’s needs, the population being served and overall goal of the program.
The next round of Feeding the Future Grants is open now and six additional organizations will each receive a $5,000 grant.
Feeding America Ice Bowl
Feeding America West Michigan’s Ice Bowl Disc Golf Tournament has been raising hunger-relief funds for three years, donating to local food pantries across southwest Michigan.
“It is difficult to see children suffer especially from hunger in this day and age of the world,” said Brad Dobberstein, Farm Bureau Agent in Eau Claire. “Nobody should have to go without a warm meal.”
Alpha Grand Rapids
Alpha Grand Rapids provides holistic services for women and men affected by unplanned pregnancy. The funds help provide items such as baby formula, baby cereal and jars of baby food.
Jenison-based Farm Bureau Insurance Agent Jeremy Underwood nominated the organization.
“Since ACF was started I was on board with being a founding member and continue to give monthly as I'm able,” Underwood said. “Two years ago ACF donated $2,500 to Grand Rapids Dream Center and it was incredible to just be part of what the ministry is doing to serve and feed the inner city.
“Alpha Ministry has approached being a holistic ministry to help in all areas of someone's life. It's a great organization.”
Negaunee School District
The Negaunee School District will put its grant award toward plans to feed its 1,500 students with products from local farms there in the central Upper Peninsula, giving more kids access to free/reduced lunches and creating another revenue stream for the area’s farmers.
Scott Huber, a Farm Bureau Insurance agent in Marquette, nominated Negaunee Schools for the award.
Hand2Hand is focused on feeding hungry children over the weekend, currently serving almost 8,300 students in more than 250 schools across western Michigan.
The Jenison-based group was nominated by Amanda Monroe, a Farm Bureau Insurance agent in Allendale.
“I feel that no child deserves to go hungry and deserves an equal opportunity to succeed and learn,” Monroe said, “and being hungry severely impacts their ability to do this.”
Kalkaska Public Schools’ Karen’s Kids Pantry
Kalkaska Public Schools' Karen’s Kids Pantry will put its ACF Grant toward its mission to provide food for high school students after school hours.
“I donate to the ACF because I know how much the programs they sponsor mean to the people and the communities who benefit from them,” said Clint Belcher, the Kalkaska-based Farm Bureau Insurance agent who nominated Karen’s Kids Pantry for the award.
Feeding America West Michigan
Based in Comstock Park, Feeding America West Michigan will use its Feeding the Future Grant for providing high school students with food after the school day’s done.
“No child deserves to go without a meal,” said Kelly Obenauf, a Rockford-based Farm Bureau Insurance agent and ACF committee member. “Food insecurity is an issue that is not the fault of children. Kids need food to help fuel growth, learning and success.”
Feeding the Future Grants are disbursed every two months. May-June cycle applications are due June 3, with recipients being announced later that month.
The ACF, whose mission is to end hunger in Michigan, is a donor-designated fund administered through the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture. The Michigan Foundation for Agriculture, a 501(c)(3) governed by Michigan Farm Bureau’s board of directors, positively contributes to the future of Michigan agriculture through leadership and educational programming. Through grant programs like Feeding the Future, Farm Bureau agents, clients and partners provide food and educational programs to Michigan residents struggling with hunger and aid the more than 3,000 hunger-relief agencies throughout the state