People struggling with hunger increases in the U.P.

ISHPEMING — According to Feeding America, the percentage of people struggling with hunger has increased in the Upper Peninsula for the first time in five years.

More than 330,000 people are at risk of hunger in the U.P. and in the western Lower Peninsula. Of those 330,000 people, a third of those at risk of hunger are children.

“If a kid doesn’t have consistent access to nutritious food, they can really suffer from a number of setbacks,” said Andrew Steiner of Feeding America West Michigan. “We’re very concerned that we’ve seen some lost ground in the battle to fight hunger.”

To help battle hunger, Feeding America’s Mobile Food Pantry Program makes frequent trips to the U.P. Up to seven vehicles cross the bridge every week to deliver fresh food to those in need.

“A challenge that we face in the U.P. is that there aren’t as many food pantries and soup kitchens as we find downstate,” said Steiner. “To get around that, we decided to just bring food directly to communities. We setup a ‘Farmers Market on Wheels.’ People from the community can come and collect a half weeks worth of groceries right there.”

Steiner added that Feeding America relies heavily on donations and that $1 can buy four meals for one person. For more information about Feeding America, you can visit the website by clicking here.