Sterling Heights

Sterling Heights kicks off food drive as COVID-19 increases national food insecurity

Sterling Heights is gearing up for another season of collecting goods to help combat food insecurity with the Ken Stempowski Memorial Food Drive, to contribute to the annual Macomb Food Program. 

Nearly 12% of Macomb residents, over 103,000 people, are food insecure, according a 2018 study by Feeding America. That figure is down from 12.7% in 2016 and 12.1% in 2017, indicating some success in addressing the issue, but the impact of COVID-19 is predicted to increase food insecurity in the county to 18% this year.  

Before the COVID-19 crisis began, food insecurity in the U.S. was the lowest it had been in more than 20 years but experts predict a reverse in improvements, anticipating more than 50 million people, including 17 million children, nationally who may experience food insecurity this year because of the virus. 

Last year's collection in Macomb saw 1025 pounds of food and $335 raised to support families and vulnerable residents throughout the county, shared through 60 pantry distribution sites. This year, employees of the Sterling Heights Department of Public Works (DPW) are continuing the food fundraising tradition initiated by a DPW colleague who began the department’s annual collections more than 28 years ago.

Donations of non-perishable food to benefit the Macomb Food Program are now being accepted at the Sterling Heights Public Works facility at 40555 Utica Road between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, and at the Community Relations Department, located in the lower level of City Hall, weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5 p.m. Collections will be accepted through Wednesday, December 16. Checks made out to the Macomb Food Program are also welcomed.


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Kate Roff is an award-winning freelance writer and journalism educator, currently based out of Detroit. She is the managing editor of Metromode and Model D. Contact her at