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Family food boxes: One way MFB provides Disaster Relief

Before a disaster hits, Midwest Food Bank is ready.

Being ready means providing what is needed for that particular disaster because flooding, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes differ. But the common denominator is the people in the middle of those disasters. Mike Hoffman, director of inventory and logistics for MFB, says helping people through those chaotic days following a disaster is at the heart of MFB's efforts.

MFB was just starting in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. It is one of the biggest natural disasters to hit the United States. Mike was a volunteer then and drove a truck with food to that area. Fast forward. MFB has solidified a relationship with the Salvation Army for disaster relief. Each year upwards of 50 loads of food, water, and cleaning supplies are sent all over the United States.

Our donors also want to make sure the efforts are meaningful. The Disaster Relief family food boxes contain items to assist a family after a disaster. We are often asked if pasta is helpful. How can people cook it? What about canned goods? Do people have a can opener?

"Those food boxes are for people that might have lost power for a short time, or their home is structurally damaged, but they can still live there," says Mike. "It's a short-term supplement for them."

They still have access to their home and electricity when they receive a box. Often the food in their refrigerator and freezer has been spoiled, and these boxes provide a bridge. Grocery stores may be temporarily inaccessible.

"It's common to get the impression that people are homeless," Mike says, "but that is not always the case."

Flooding creates different problems because it compromises water sources. That's why MFB sends loads of bottled water to those areas. Once the water recedes, MFB often sends cleaning supplies to disaster areas. It's a matter of knowing what is needed and when.

"People want to help, and we are on standby," says Mike. "MFB has three semi-loads of disaster relief ready to ship and enough food and supplies for ten more at all times."

Financial donations are the best way to help disaster relief because MFB can leverage our buying power. A $100 donation fills four family food boxes. Any amount provides help to someone in need.

MFB also uses volunteers to assemble those family food boxes, which is another way to help.

Learn more about disaster relief or donate here. Read some words of thanks from recipients here.

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Sunday, 02 October 2022
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