Client In the News:

Oakland County dedicates federal funds to address food insecurity

By: Anne Runkle, July 30, 20210

Oakland County is allocating nearly $1 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to assist groups that will help residents deal with food needs amid rising fears about inflation and recession.

“We know times are tough right now,” Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said at a press conference Wednesday, July 27.  “Everything is going up, including food.”

Lighthouse, a Pontiac-based nonprofit that addresses poverty through numerous programs,  will receive $350,000 in grants to assist those dealing with food insecurity.

The Pontiac Community Foundation will also receive $350,000, which will be awarded in grants of up to $50,000 to help small organizations around the county that run food pantries.

Another $250,000 will aid Oakland County farmers’ markets that participate in Double Up Food Bucks.

Under the program, shoppers who use their MIBridges card get a dollar-for-dollar matching grant for fruit and vegetable purchases, up to $20 per day. MIBridges is a federal program administered by the state to assist low-income residents with food purchases.

Funding for Double Up Food Bucks comes from the county and state. The county’s boosted funding broadens the number of shoppers who can participate, said Bill Mullan, county spokesman.

About 43% of Oakland County students are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals, Coulter said.

“That’s in the wealthiest county in Michigan,” Coulter said.

He said the county is embarking on an initiative through the University of Michigan that will study solutions to poverty, looking in particular at areas where there are few or no traditional grocery stores, residents who lack transportation to get to a store and other factors.

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