How 2 groups plan to provide Thanksgiving meals for those facing food insecurity

Community Action House (CAH) and Muskegon Rescue Mission (MRM) are among Lakeshore nonprofits stepping up to help provide meals and grocery assistance this Thanksgiving for area families, taking the pressure off those facing food insecurity so that they can experience joy, celebration, and time with their families. 

This year, CAH anticipates providing food access for up 1,900 families — almost double the number they served last year. Over the coming week, more than 15 volunteer groups, along with individual volunteers, will sort food, stock shelves, and assist guests with Thanksgiving food service. 

Feast and Basket Giveaway

MRM is hosting its annual Thanksgiving Community Feast and Basket Giveaway to help families during the holiday. Hats, mittens, and socks will be distributed at both events, which are open to the public. 

The Thanksgiving Community Feast is Sunday, Nov. 20, in the Muskegon High School cafeteria, 80 W. Southern Ave. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and dinner will be served 5-6 p.m.  Families can also participate in the two-day Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway event (limit one per family) held 8-11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 21, or  3-6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 22, at the Muskegon Rescue Mission Men’s Shelter, 400 W. Laketon Ave. 

Baskets include a frozen turkey, potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, dessert, and other ingredients to ensure families can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at home. Muskegon Rescue Mission is preparing to distribute baskets to more than 650 families this year. 

The Muskegon Rescue Mission is hosting its annual Thanksgiving Community Feast and Basket Giveaway to help families during the holiday.

MRM is one of the largest faith-based emergency shelter providers in West Michigan. For 115 years, they have provided meals, shelter, clothing, and life-changing programs. Donations are being collected, and a list of items needed for this event can be found on their website muskegonmission.org

“Homelessness and hunger are hitting people especially hard this year. The rising cost of food, gas, and rent has driven many families into poverty, and we are experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of guests seeking shelter. This is our way to lessen their financial burden and bless families in our community during the holidays,” says MRM Executive Director Dan Skoglund. 

Immunizations offered

Muskegon County Health Department will be on-site during the two-day giveaway event to administer immunizations for anyone in need of influenza, COVID-19, hepatitis A & B, shingles, and Tdap vaccinations. The department has partnered with MRM to provide this service to the community. 

CAH, in working with groups including the Kyle Geenen Group; Custer Inc.; Foresight Management; Huizenga, Gamache & Associates; New Holland Brewing Company; and “Adopt-a-Shift” church partners, among others, will provide the hours needed to serve the almost 2,000 families that will turn to Action House for support.

This year, the Kyle Geenen Group is CAH’s premier Thanksgiving sponsor, partnering to help cover the cost of their expanded service. Boar’s Head is also partnering with the agency again this year, providing financial support and 1,000 turkey portions to distribute to guests.

Expanded, enhanced services

With the opening of its Food Club & Opportunity Hub last October, Community Action House significantly expanded and enhanced its services, and launched a new model of food access along the Lakeshore. The grocery-store-style Food Club provides healthy food access for low-income families, with fresh, healthy items available six days weekly in an inviting, high-dignity environment. In the one year since Food Club’s opening, CAH has supported over 7,000 low-income Food Club “members.”

In addition to grocery assistance for families in need, the Food Club & Opportunity Hub connects guests with other helpful resources, from Financial Wellness programming (which includes budget counseling, homeownership classes, and foreclosure assistance) and cooking classes to referrals and other community resources. With food as an entry point, the CAH team partners with guests to walk alongside them as they move from crisis to stability.

This expanded Thanksgiving assistance is a huge undertaking, supported by hundreds of compassionate community members and businesses each year. CAH is still fundraising to reach its financial goal for this Thanksgiving. Those looking to support Community Action House’s Thanksgiving service can donate online at communityactionhouse.org/set-the-table. Every $33 donation covers the cost of groceries for one family.

 

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.