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05/19/2022

Meijer jump-starts Feeding America West Michigan’s advancement campaign with $2M gift

The campaign aims to raise $6 million for a new facility that will nearly double the nonprofit’s food distribution efforts.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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Meijer is extending its support to nourish its neighbors in Michigan with a $2 million gift to Feeding America West Michigan that will help Nourish Tomorrow's $6 million advancement campaign to move the food bank’s headquarters and distribution center from Comstock Park to 3070 Shaffer Ave., SE in Kentwood.

“I am overwhelmed by the amazing support Meijer provides,” said Kenneth Estelle, the food bank’s president and CEO. “Meijer has supported our work for more than 30 years. They provide millions of pounds of food, donate semi-trucks and give generous financial gifts like this one. Their clear commitment to our community has helped many of our neighbors during hard times. I am proud and honored to have a partner like Meijer working alongside us to ensure neighbors facing hunger can access the food they need to thrive.”

This announcement marks the beginning of the public phase of the $6 million campaign, the company said. 

[Read more: Meijer donates $300K to support the Midwest's diverse-owned businesses

Challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, and a continuing effort to provide more equitable service in all of its 40 counties, pushed the food bank’s current Comstock Park facility to operate beyond its functional capacity. As a result, the food bank acquired a substantially larger facility in Kentwood last year. However, this facility is not yet a food bank. Feeding America West Michigan is seeking charitable gifts from the community to:

  • Transform the warehouse into a food bank;
  • Expand food rescue and programs for children and seniors; and  
  • Increase equity of service by strengthening community partnerships.

Ultimately, this facility will enable the food bank to nearly double its food distribution to nourish more Michigan residents. The group aims to increase annual distribution to 32.5 million meals’ worth of food by the five-year mark; the building will have a total capacity of 37.5 million meals annually.

[Read more: Meijer opens small-format Rivertown Market in Detroit]

“Feeding America West Michigan is a longtime partner of Meijer because every day, they support our mission to feed our neighbors facing hunger,” Meijer president and CEO Rick Keyes said. “It means so much to us to be able to help them as they launch this campaign to better meet the community’s needs and expand their vital work.”

Estelle announced today during a press conference at the Kentwood facility that the Nourish Tomorrow campaign has raised $4.7 million — 78% of the campaign goal — over the last several months. To date, nearly 100 local donors, businesses and area foundations have supported the campaign, including the $2 million lead gift from Meijer.

“Today is a great day for celebration, but our work is not done,” said Feeding America West Michigan’s board chair Amanda McVay. “We’re calling on the community now to help us reach and exceed our goal. With your help, we can take this step toward a more nourished tomorrow.”

The nonprofit also recognized other generous donors and honorary chairs for their support, including campaign volunteers for leading the effort and the food bank’s board and staff for their dedication. The public was then invited to join in the fundraising effort, which will continue through the end of the year online. 

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