Flint, MI—The Michigan Department of Health and Human services announced Tuesday that it would continue its partnership with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to provide lead-mitigating food to Flint residents throughout December. 

The program has been ongoing since 2016. Last year, the food bank performed 217 food distributions and fed over 61,000 Flint families. 

“It’s an annual program to provide extra nutrition in response to the Flint water crisis…It’s meant to provide food that is rich in vitamin C, iron and calcium to mitigate the effects of lead,” Kara Ross, President and CEO of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, said. 

The mobile pantries include items like cereal, canned protein, milk, berries and other fruits and vegetables. 

“We have over 16 different varieties of fresh produce that we buy from Michigan farms,” Ross said, adding that last year FBEM gave out over 12 million pounds of produce in the 22 counties it serves. 

Due to COVID-19, food distribution sites are taking extra precautions. Volunteers must wear gloves and masks, use hand sanitizer often and clean distribution buildings throughout the day, MDHHS officials said in a press release. 

Customers will not need to leave their vehicles to receive food. They simply need to open their trunks and the volunteers will load it up. 

“Now, during the pandemic, we’re doing double the amount of food that we did compared to the same time period last year. And there’s a lot of people that are needing help for the very first time [who] have not experienced unemployment before,” Ross said.

 To find local pantries by zip code or to donate to the program, visit the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan’s website

“Every dollar is six meals for someone in need. So, we leverage donations to immediately make an impact for neighbors who need help,” Ross said. 

Flint Mobile Pantry Distribution Schedule

Greater Holy Temple, 6702 N. Dort Hwy.

  • Thursday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 10, at 10 a.m.
  • Thursday, Dec. 17, at 10 a.m. 
  • Wednesday, Dec. 23, at 10 a.m. 
  •  Thursday, Dec. 31, at 10 a.m.

Bethel United Methodist Church, 1309 Ballenger Hwy. 

  • Monday, Dec. 7, at 10 a.m. 
  • Monday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m. 
  • Monday, Dec. 21, at 10 a.m. 
  • Monday, Dec. 28, at 10 a.m. 

St. Luke’s NEW Life Center, 3115 Lawndale Ave. 

  • Friday, Dec. 4, at 10 a.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 11, at 10 a.m. 
  • Friday, Dec. 18, at 10 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 23, at 10 a.m. 
  • Wednesday, Dec. 30, at 10 a.m. 

Asbury United Methodist Church, 1653 Davison Road

  • Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday, Dec. 22, at 10 a.m. 
  • Tuesday, Dec. 29, at 10 a.m.

Flint residents can also pick up free nutritional food at the three Flint Help Center locations: 

  • Bethel United Methodist Church, 1309 N. Ballenger Highway, open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays
  • Asbury United Methodist Church, 1653 Davison Road, open Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Greater Holy Temple, 6702 N. Dort Highway, open Thursdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Carmen Nesbitt

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...