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United Way obtains $75,000 grant to fight food insecurity | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy photo Steve Wright and Joe Gentry pose with a check for $75,000 to help with food insecurity.

ALPENA – United Way of Northeast Michigan received a $75,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, Michigan Health Endowment Fund and WK Kellogg Foundation for “Addressing Food and Nutrition Insecurity to Improve Health Equity” in Michigan. This grant will use proven strategies to increase locally grown, nutritious foods for food-insecure children and seniors in northeast Michigan, beginning with Alcona, Alpena, and Montmorency counties. Specifically, the project will establish a Double Up Bucks food incentive site in Alcona County; increase the participation and success of the 10 cents per meal reimbursement program in schools; and connecting seniors to fresh food through a farmers market transportation pilot.

Steve Wright was hired by United Way as NWMU’s Healthy Foods Coordinator under the grant, reporting to Kristine Ranger, Project Manager. Wright will be engaged in:

¯ Advancing the local food and agricultural economy in northeast Michigan.

¯ Promote the 10 Cents a Meal for Schools program by engaging with local farmers, school administrators, area organizations and advocates, and other stakeholders.

¯ Support the local FoodCorps program, including

¯ Recruitment of volunteers for Hillman and Alcona schools

¯ assistance in sourcing local food for events and school lunch programs where appropriate

¯ help with programming and educational events

¯ supporting school gardens

¯ Support selected senior centers in their efforts to increase access to healthier local foods and coordinate technical assistance to producers for Senior Project Fresh

¯ Support Fair Food Network/Taste a Local Difference staff in the region with Double Up Food Bucks site recruitment, educational programming and tastings

¯ Contribute to the re-establishment of the NEMI Local Food Policy Council in the Tri-County area and help recruit others to this role

¯ Serve as a community liaison by working collaboratively with other individuals and organizations throughout the North East region by initiating and building relationships, communicating about the project, and coordinating with the project team and partners.

For more information, contact Joseph Gentry, Executive Director, United Way of Northeast Michigan, 108 Water Street, Alpena, MI 49707, call 989-354-2221, or email [email protected]

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