Hillsdale, Michigan – August 2, 2023
Thursday, July 27, the Hillsdale County Community Foundation YOUTH (Youth Opportunities Unlimited Throughout Hillsdale) worked to fight against food insecurity with their annual “Fill the Freezer” event. The food drive is intended to support local food pantries in need by supplying $9,000 in donations of frozen and non-perishable food items as well as personal care products.
The most recent statistics from Feeding America show food insecurity at 12.8% in Hillsdale County as of 2021, 2.4% higher than the national average. Organizations benefiting from the drive include King’s Kupboard (MWF from 3:30pm-5:30pm), The Salvation Army (M-F from 9:00am-3:00pm), Domestic Harmony, Waldron First Church of Christ Food Pantry (4th Wednesday of every month from 2:00pm-4:00pm), Current Church Food Pantry (1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month from 9:00am-11:00pm), and The Jonesville Mission (pantry every other Tuesday from 4:00pm-5:00pm. Fresh food given away on other Tuesdays).
The YOUTH have chosen to sponsor this event for a seventh year as the members hope to lighten the burden of food insecurity on struggling families in their community. The summer months are particularly hard on families as kids are at home and do not have access to school-provided breakfast and lunch. Because of this, food pantries are under strain during this time due to the influx of people utilizing the services they provide. Senior at Will Carleton Academy Jack Thielen is going into his fourth year in YOUTH and spoke on the event, saying “Fill the Freezer is a rewarding event for all YOUTH members, and it’s amazing to see the impact we have on the community and people in need.”
Throughout Hillsdale County, food pantries distributed 712,055 pounds of food in 2022 and 313,032 pounds as of June 30, 2023. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, food pantries have received fewer donations than in the past, while the need has increased, making it more difficult for them to provide for those who utilize the services. Despite placing orders for extra food, it is not always guaranteed that the pantries will receive what they requested.
The Hillsdale County Community Foundation YOUTH was established in October of 1991. The YOUTH Advisory Council has an ongoing program for studying the assets, needs, and concerns of the young people in Hillsdale County. YOUTH has a special endowment fund, initially made possible by a challenge grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to make available grant dollars to benefit and involve young people in Hillsdale County. Anyone wishing further information regarding the YOUTH may call the Foundation office at (517) 439-5101 or visit www.abouthccf.org.
Hanna Thompson, Marketing Intern
Hillsdale County Community Foundation
(517) 439-5101, firstname.lastname@example.org