Bay City-area agencies are offering resources for food during the holidays

During the holidays, especially amidst a pandemic, many people are finding themselves in need. The Bay County Food Connection committee, a collaboration of local organizations committed to ensuring food access in Bay County, wants residents to know where to turn and that help is available.

“During a year this tough, we want to make sure that anyone struggling is aware of the amazing support our community has to offer," says Nicole Luczak, associate director of the United Way of Bay County and chair of the Bay County Food Connection Committee. “Especially for many families who rely on school meals for children that may not be available during the two-week holiday break.”

211 Northeast Michigan is a resource available 24/7 to connect people to organizations and programs providing food, rent/mortgage and utility assistance as well as any other need they might have. In addition, a list of food distributions, meals and pantries is provided:

* The Dow Bay Area Family YMCA offers several opportunities.

There is a 7-day bulk meal distribution for children 18 or younger on Dec. 28 from 4-6pm at the YMCA, 225 Washington Ave., and Messiah Lutheran, 501 S Catherine St. Meals are served grab ‘n' go style. Beginning Jan. 4, bulk meals will be available Mondays and Thursdays from 4-6pm at the YMCA and Messiah Lutheran. Children do not need to be present for pickup. The YMCA also has lunch available daily from 11 am to Noon Monday through Friday and Emergency Food Boxes available anytime during normal business hours or call to schedule a delivery.

Emergency food boxes are available by pickup or delivery for adults or families in need. “Truck 2 Trunk” food distribution with FBEM on Jan. 11 beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting as long as food is available.

* Food of Faith serves takeout meals every Sunday from 2:30 to 3:30 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 815 N Grant St.

* Safe Harbor, 706 Joseph St., offers a mass food giveaway every Tuesday through January. The event runs from 11 a.m. until all food is distributed.  The agency offers a food pantry every Monday from 1 to 3 p.m. Takeout meals are available Monday and Tuesday starting at 5:30pm until gone.

* The Salvation Army, 401 10th St., serves lunches Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., including Christmas Day . The Food Pantry is open Monday through Friday from 12:30 to 3 p.m., except on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

* The Food Bank of Eastern Michigan Mobile Food distributions are:
Dec. 22 and 29 at 11 am at Safe Harbor
Jan. 4 at 10 am at Shalom Assembly of God (Dominion Life Ministries)
Jan. 5 at 11 am at Safe Harbor
Jan. 8 at noon at Church of God, 301 N Madison Ave.
Jan. 11 at 10 am the Dow Bay Area Family Y

Thanks to support from the United Way of Bay County, 211 Northeast Michigan is available to assist people with local, state and national resources that may be available.

"We, at 2-1-1, are here for our community no matter the day or time; always here to help those who just need one place to go to look for assistance or to even offer themselves as a volunteer” said 211 Northeast Michigan Director Sarah Kile. “Our services never close and are free to the public by simply dialing 2-1-1."

The Dow Bay Area Family YMCA has been a key player in addressing any gaps in the food system. With their emergency food box program, delivery service and meals for children under 18 years old available dailym they have stepped up to make sure no one goes hungry in Bay County.

“As a pillar of our community for over 135 years, we strive to fill its needs rather than our own,” said Dow Bay Area Family YMCA CEO Jim Vietti. “That’s why we are so grateful to be working with organizations like United Way, 2-1-1, and others with missions that align with ours, so that we can continue finding more ways to positively impact our community especially during these challenging days.”

For more information or referrals to local resources, Bay County residents are asked dial 2-1-1, text their zip code to TXT211 (898211), or use the 10 digit number (888) 636-4211 to contact 2-1-1 Northeast Michigan with human care needs inquires.
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