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Community action agencies expand emergency programs across Michigan

MDHHS thanks Consumers Energy Foundation for $450,000 grant

LANSING — Michigan families hit hard by the financial and health-related impacts of COVID-19 will benefit from a $450,000 Consumers Energy Foundation grant to eight community action agencies working to meet the emergency needs of low- and moderate-income residents in 43 counties.

“We are honored to help those on the frontlines delivering food to Michiganders struggling due to COVID-19,” said Brandon Hofmeister, president of the “https://www.consumersenergy.com/community/foundation”>Consumers Energy Foundation. “More residents need help feeding their families, and it’s important we support the local agencies that are both meeting their immediate hunger needs and developing new ways to deliver vital services safely. Consumers Energy is committed to investing in our communities to help power through these challenging times together.”

The grant will support agencies trying to keep up with a huge increase in requests for assistance during the pandemic.

“The beauty of community action is that we’re nimble,” said Lisa Bolen, executive director of Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency, which provides core services such as food and emergency and short-term housing to individuals and families in 11 counties. Her agency will receive $200,000 and will likely spend part of it on a vehicle, as COVID-19 issues have significantly increased requests for food delivered to residents’ homes. In April, food programs in Bolen’s region reported a 46% increase in food distribution and a 76% increase in requests for home-delivered meals.

“We thank our partners at Consumers Energy Foundation for helping us work with community action agencies to provide access to food and meet the other needs of Michiganders who are being affected by COVID-19. With this substantial grant, community action agencies will quickly scale up emergency food distribution, home-delivered meal programs, and other emergency services,” said Lewis Roubal, senior deputy director of opportunity for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which houses the Bureau of Community Action and Economic Opportunity that oversees community action agencies.

Information around the COVID-19 outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

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