KALAMAZOO HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
Volunteers from the First Presbyterian Church supported Habitat for Humanity with constructing, remodeling, and landscaping several homes in Kalamazoo, Portage, and Kalamazoo Township.
KALAMAZOO LOAVES AND FISHES
FPC continues to provide both monetary and volunteer support for Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes (KLF). FPC support for this community program dates from its founding in 1982 by persons who, working with Ministry with Community, were concerned about increasing requests from people for food assistance. The KLF’s mission is to feed hungry people in Kalamazoo County and to engage the community in the fight to end hunger. KLF is committed to serving the entire community, and values the inclusion of individuals of all ages and all backgrounds. KLF staff and volunteers support the following programs, which carry out the mission of the organization:
- The Grocery Pantry Program (GPP) is KLF’s largest and longest-running program serving Kalamazoo County. At 23 pantry sites throughout the county, local residents receive same-day appointments, at which time they can choose four days’ food for each individual member of the household. Food is based on the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines, providing nutritionally balanced choices that include protein, grains, and fruits and vegetables. During busy periods, KLF can help more than 1000 local residents-in-need utilize the GPP program in a single day. In 2015 the county-wide GPP served 49,555 households; including 93,977 adults and 60,216 children, for a total of 154,193 food orders.
The first GPP Pantry was at Ministry with Community. It is the only pantry at a Drop-in Center, and continues to operate five days a week, Monday through Friday. The Pantry is primarily staffed by a volunteer corps of 70 individuals from the area Presbyterian churches. In 2015, the Ministry with Community Pantry site served 2,376 households, including 4,040 adults and 2,667 children; for a total of 6,707 total food orders with 92,576 pounds of food distributed.
- KLF is a “Food Bank Plus” and has additional anti-hunger programs. The Meal Support Program provides food for locations that prepare meals for persons receiving other services, such as Ministry with Community and the YWCA Domestic Assault Shelter. A service primarily for people aged 60 or over, based on income guidelines, is known as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. Commodity foods are available once a month at varying locations. The Mobile Food Initiative, in partnership with the Food Bank of South Central Michigan, distributes to persons in need various perishable and non-perishable food items, including fresh fruits and vegetables, at specific sites throughout the county.
- In 2015, KLF began providing Weekend Food Packs to children through a partnership with Communities in Schools of Kalamazoo. Participating children leave school, or the summer feeding program with which they are associated, on Friday afternoon with a weekend food pack. There is enough food in the pack to cover breakfast and lunch for that child during the weekend hours when other food options may be scarce.
KLF is the largest charitable food distribution system in Kalamazoo County, with 71 total locations in the food assistance network and a volunteer force numbering 450 volunteers per week.