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New Support for HEALTHY Muskegon

A $315,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund is supporting initiatives across Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, and Manistee counties that will improve access to healthy food for children and seniors. Muskegon community access to these funds is through a competitive grantmaking process open to nonprofit organizations including schools, governmental units, faith-based organizations and 501(c)3 nonprofits that serve residents of Muskegon County with a special emphasis on low-income children and seniors.

In Muskegon, this grant continues and expands the efforts started through the Community Foundation’s HEALTHY Muskegon [link to impact story page] initiative that was created with a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“We’ve seen huge growth in local food work in Muskegon,” said Chris McGuigan, Foundation president/CEO. “This grant allows us to support established projects as well as nurture new ideas, and will continue the networking activities that create the connections necessary for these projects – and for our community – to thrive.”

In late spring, 2016, over $186,640 was awarded to community organizations and included:

  • Agewell Services of West Michigan to expand scratch cooking and purchase of local produce for their three main meal programs serving 1,900 seniors.
  • City of Muskegon Heights in support of the Heights City Market to increase access to healthy foods as well as nutrition education programs.
  • Coalition for Community Development in support of Operation Healthy Heights, a garden and nutrition education program in two elementary schools.
  • COGIC Community Center toward integrating local fruits and veggies into the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen, along with nutrition education for teens.
  • Community enCompass for their Watch Muskegon Grow project that will optimize and increase McLaughlin Grows’ yield through vertical farming and internship opportunities for new farmers.
  • Fruitport Lions for the Power of Produce for Seniors program and Love Mini-Gardens.
  • Muskegon Public Schools for the Growing Goods Project that combines core curriculum content with lifeskills education and a growing/preparing food experience for at-risk middle school youth.
  • Pioneer Resources to capture unsold produce from the Muskegon Farmers Market and use Kitchen 242 to process gleaned food for redistribution.
  • Reeths-Puffer Schools in support of their Gardens to Cafeterias program, which will expand production from school gardens and increase purchase of local produce.
  • The Salvation Army to partner with Kitchen 242 to provide educational opportunities and healthy recipes for their clients.
  • United Way of the Lakeshore to convene public, private, nonprofit, and government partners to address food insecurity, health standards of community food pantries, and healthier pantry options.
  • Whitehall District Schools for their Whitehall’s Growing project which will include classroom planter boxes and student “breakfast champions” who will create original breakfast offerings using classroom grown produce.

“The Michigan Health Endowment Fund board is proud to support a variety of very successful programs already positively impacting the health of Michigan’s children and seniors as a result of our first grant funding effort,” said Rob Fowler, Michigan Health Endowment board chairman. “We look forward to building additional relationships with Michigan’s community foundations and other nonprofit organizations as they continue their focused work to improve the health of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents.”