Food bank

Michigan has plenty of food programs, but some residents are still missing out.

The Michigan Food Environment Scan, a report from August found that Saginaw, Flint, Bay City and other others, do not have enough emergency food programming.

"The number of families and individuals who are food insecure compared to 2019, and this is a conservative estimate, has quadrupled in the last eight months of the pandemic," said Laurie Solotorow from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

The scan was compiled by the Michigan Public Health Institute and commissioned by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

The research was done before the pandemic but COVID has only made the problems worse.

"There are so many things about our food system that are fractured,” Solotorow said. “I think all of these fragments in the system had kind of started to bubble up in the pandemic."

The report found the tri-cities are in a group that has limited access to healthy, affordable foods, and a high number of residents with low income and receiving snap benefits.

"There are a significant percentage of residents who fall under this low socio-economic status designation and they're layered with food deserts, so areas of the state where it's not as easy to go to the corner and get groceries," she said.

There's also a rural-urban gap.

"It's so easy and I say easy, you know it’s not easy all the time, to get food to folks in an urban setting but it is doubly or triply hard to get food to folks in a rural setting," Solotorow said.

She believes the key to solving some of the food insecurity issues lies in making and fixing specific policies locally and statewide.

Copyright 2020 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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