By Mike Kruzman /

The Livingston County Hunger Council is working hard to ensure families have enough food on the table during the coronavirus (COVID-19) shutdown.

The Hunger Council is a collaborative body made up of non-profits, local businesses, private citizens, and government bodies who have committed to making Livingston County a community where everyone has access to the nutritious food they need, even when the coronavirus has many stores and restaurants closing or switching to take-out and delivery only. Some of their current specialty programs include helping the Salvation Army provide breakfasts and lunches, Gleaners Food Bank working with local school districts, and the mobile pantry at Three Fires Elementary in Genoa Township. At some areas, like Shared Harvest, a drive-through model has been adopted to help make sure workers and residents stay safe while practicing social-distance protocols.

Bridget Brown, the Director of Gleaner's Food Secure Livingston, is part of the Hunger Council and she says that they are collaborating to meet the needs of residents, for which she feels they have the capacity to do. Brown said, with their local partners, they are having ongoing conversations and adapting as they find new holes for food gaps they need to fill. As far as the reaction from residents locally, Brown says that while they are starting to see people panic a little, they want everyone to know that they will have food for everybody that needs it. She said they’re very focused on helping the vulnerable population and they won’t be stopping their distribution at any point in time.

Brown says the Hunger Council is working with the state government to make sure that they not only have a plan set in place for the immediate need of residents, but an ongoing plan, as well. They have been working with the Michigan Department of Education, Gleaners, and the Food Bank Council of Michigan, following their protocol. Brown said they are “definitely in the loop” in making sure that they get the food they need coming in to come in, so that it can be distributed in a timely manner.

She said anyone with questions about a food distribution opportunity should reach out before they come; as they are still committed to getting food out the door, but this crisis is just changing their model a little bit.

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