During the recession of 1981, layoffs left many families in the greater Lansing area without resources. Some faced tough choices: whether to pay for housing, medicine, utilities or food.
To help ensure that no one in our community would go hungry, community leaders David Hollister, Camille Abood, Patrick Babcock and William Long founded the Greater Lansing Food Alliance—now known as Greater Lansing Food Bank (GLFB).
In the early days of the alliance, local organizations and businesses held monthly food drives. Collected food was stored in an unused Lansing School building, sorted by volunteers, and distributed by Ingham County through an informal network of eight area churches.
By 1982, GLFB launched Garden Project. This program provides garden plots, seeds, tools and gardening knowledge to people in underserved areas so they can grow, harvest, prepare, and preserve their own vegetables and increase the local supply of fresh, nutritious food.
In 1992, the Food Bank addressed another unmet need—preventing prepared food from going to waste. That is how the Food Movers program was born. Through this program, volunteers “rescue” prepared food from licensed kitchens, local grocery stores and bakeries, then deliver it to our partner shelters, community kitchens, senior centers and others in need.
In 2012, the Board of the American Red Cross, Mid-Michigan Chapter, which operated the Mid-Michigan Food Bank and the Board of GLFB announced that the two organizations would be combining operations. The new consolidated food bank kept the GLFB name and featured a new logo with an expanded mission focused on feeding those in need in the seven counties of Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Ingham, Isabella and Shiawassee.
Although GLFB was originally established as a temporary measure, food needs have continued to grow. GLFB continues to distribute nutritious food to families facing food insecurity through specialized programs and a network of 140 community partners. The organization is able to carry out its mission, in large part, because of the efforts of many outstanding volunteers, the assistance of its partner organizations, and the extraordinary generosity of this community.