Pulling Together to Address Food Security
Posted on November 06, 2018
This MHA Rounds Guest Blog was written by Phillip Knight, PhD, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan.
“Harambee” is a Kiswahili word that means to “pull together.” I learned the concept of harambee in East Africa, where I invested a decade of my life leading projects to build the first schools and health clinics in the Bavuma Islands of Lake Victoria. Whenever there was a need, a project or an opportunity, the village would literally pull together to seize the opportunity or meet the need.
The Michigan Harvest Gathering (MHG) is definitely a harambee type of event. We find food insecurity causes toxic stress in every community. According to our data, there are approximately 1.5 million people in Michigan who are food insecure. But MHG isn’t just about the need, it is also about the opportunity.
The Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM) and our network of food banks serve people who fit into several categories: 47 percent are employed, 25 percent are children, 19 percent are senior citizens and 6 percent are homeless. I think we would all agree that, while charity is a part of MHG, each of these groups are people worthy of us investing in.
The Michigan Harvest Gathering is a statewide food and funds drive that allows each of us to shape Michigan’s culture to come alongside our hungry neighbors and make our communities stronger and better. Hospitals across Michigan are a central point where people come together to receive both health and hope. With help from the MHA and your member hospitals, we have collected over $390,000 and more than 377,000 pounds of food during the last five years!
This is the type of state we want to be a part of, one that pulls together to help those in need. The partnership between the MHA and FBCM demonstrates what we can accomplish by pulling together. After all, one is too small a number to multiply.
Thank you for pulling together with FBCM. Because of you and many others, we are inspired to believe that hunger is not bigger than we are, it is not better than we are, and it is not beyond us to solve. Asante Sana! (Thank you!)
Posted in: MHA Rounds