LANSING - While a business can take a holiday, hunger does not.
That's why for more than 30 years, the Greater Lansing Food Bank has dedicated themselves to make sure that no adult, elderly person or child wakes up or goes to bed hungry; however, the Greater Lansing Food Bank, which serves seven Mid-Michigan Counties, has found their shelves emptier than normal this year.
"Food is a basic human need. People have a right to food. People have a right to eat healthy, to eat nutritiously. We don't want anybody to go hungry," said Joe Wald, Executive Director of the Greater Lansing Food Bank.
"Every year, we worry about children not getting enough food, and that's the same this year as it is in the past. Way too many children are at risk for going to school hungry, for going to bed hungry, we don't want that to happen."
But it's not just children that the Greater Lansing Food Bank worries about. Wald explained that many of the people who come to the Greater Lansing Food Bank for help used to be donors and volunteers. He also said that they see a lot of seniors and people on fixed incomes who struggle, as well.
"These people have done everything right their entire lives. They've taken care of their families. They've put money away for their retirement so they don't have to ask for help, and all they need is one incident, an accident or an illness, and suddenly that fixed income is not enough to pay all their bills."
Wald said these kind of situations are referred to as "food insecure," which means people don't know where their next meal is going to come from.
The majority of the Greater Lansing Food Bank's donations come from local retailers, and according to Wald, last year around this time their shelves were full. Unfortunately, this year donations were down nearly 30 percent.
"When this happens, we look at other sources and we go out and we purchase food. We want to make sure that there's never a question that people will have food. Nobody in our community will go hungry as long as we're here."
Of course, the Greater Lansing Food Bank would not be what it is today if not for all their supporters and volunteers.
Roger Fowler, a dedicated volunteer since last February, says his favorite part about volunteering is the people.
"I think getting out and seeing just exactly what these efforts do. I'm on site to be giving prepared foods, as well as packaged foods to people, and it's a very solid experience for me," said Fowler.
With donations down this year and the holiday season upon us, Fowler asks that residents remember just one thing...
"Hunger is every day, you know, it doesn't go away. So, please remember that thought."