From your District Superintendent
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Northern Skies:
I hope you and your families are well in these challenging times of COVID-19. It is heartbreaking to see the growing need all around, especially among those least able to weather the economic impact being felt.
Business and school closures have placed a burden on so many families in the Upper Peninsula, and the number of first-time visitors to local pantries and mobile distributions is overwhelming. During the first seven weeks of Feeding America-West Michigan’s food bank COVID-19 response (March 16-May 3), 537,663 lbs. of food was distributed across the UP. This represents a 48.2% increase from the same time in 2019. Meanwhile, the food bank is strapped for resources and spending more than ever on food purchases as retailer donations are plummeting due to high consumer demand at grocery stores.
In this atmosphere I am joining with my ELCA, Episcopal, Roman Catholic, and Jewish counterparts in inviting the greater faith community to join together in support of those who have fallen through the cracks because of the COVID-19 crisis, by participating in a gift matching opportunity. (Please see the attached description) [ed: See column on right]
The Davenport Foundation, the Hoover Foundation/Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan, Reynolds Foundation and Superior Health Foundations have provided a $50,000 matching grant in our effort to raise $100,000. Together we are working to raise matching donations to fund mobile and local food for across the U.P.
Every $1 helps provide 4 nutritious meals for children and families. That means parents who lost their livelihoods can still feed their children. Your gift today, sent to the district office from where it will then be forwarded, will help neighbors through dire times like these.
Thank you for considering a donation as we unite together to feed the hungry.
The Program in Detail
A Collaborative Faith Community COVID-19 Response Effort
In 2019, the M.E. Davenport Foundation collaborated with the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan and Feeding America West Michigan/UP (FAWM/UP) to increase the number of mobile pantry distributions in the Upper Peninsula. The M.E. Davenport Foundation put up a match grant of $5,000 and the people of the Diocese met that match. A total of $10,000 was raised, covering the cost of 2 mobile food pantries. This year, as a Covid-19 response, the project is being expanded to all faith communities across the U.P.
The Superior Health Foundation, Hoover Foundation/Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan, Reynolds Foundation , Frazier Fund, and the M. E. Davenport Foundation have contributed to a matching grant of $50,000. Every dollar contributed will be matched up to this amount and will go toward food distribution in the Upper Peninsula. No donation is too small to be significant: a $10 donation becomes $20; a $100 donation becomes $200. We have the potential to raise $100,000 which will cover the cost of 20 to 25 Mobile Food Pantry distributions.
Why this issue?
In the Upper Peninsula, 1 in 8 residents faces food insecurity. The rate for children is 1 in 5. Given the impact of the COVID-19 virus - business and school closures and increasing unemployment - these statistics are becoming worse. Youth are particularly affected as many of them have relied on school breakfasts and lunches.
Why this partnership with Feeding America West Michigan/U.P.?
Through their Mobile Food Pantries and Depot Delivery systems, FAWM/UP provides fresh produce (fruit, vegetables, dairy and bakery) and non-perishable food in all
counties in the Upper Peninsula. In 2019, FAWM/UP provided 65 mobile distributions and 1,013,658 pounds of perishable and non-perishable food was provided to U.P.
residents facing food insecurity.
Due to their ability to purchase food in bulk and “glean” fresh produce from grocery stores, farmers, and manufacturers, they are able to keep administrative costs low (1% of budget) and direct 97.5% of funds raised to distributing food. Every dollar donated to FAWM/UP provides 4 nutritious meals for children and families.
During the first seven weeks of the COVID-19 response (March 16 – May 3) FAWM distributed 537,633 pounds of food to the U.P. This represents a 48.2% increase from the same time in 2019. FAWM resources are becoming strapped as retailer donations are plummeting due to high consumer demand at grocery stores. The need for donations is greater than ever. (source: FAWM.org)
How do you make a donation to this COVID-19 Response?
The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan has volunteered to do the accounting for this project. Checks should be made out to FAWM/UP to ensure the proper tracking and routing of funds, then mailed to the Northern Skies District Office, 927 W. Fair Ave., Marquette, MI 49855. You may also donate on-line by going to:
upepiscopal.org/feeding-america-west-michigan-up/. Donations will then be forwarded to FAWM. When does this COVID-19 Alleviating Hunger response begin and end?
The fundraising campaign will run through the month of June.
Further questions? Contact Mary Sullivan, (email) firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “FAWM” in the subject line.