Interview with Jennifer Zimmerman
1. Hi Jennifer. What is your role at TrueNorth Community Services?
I am the Nutrition and Senior Services Coordinator. And, I provide Life Link services for over
100 Seniors in Newaygo County. Typically, TrueNorth has a self-selection pantry that clients can utilize every 30 days. However, our pantry is now open on a "as needed" basis with a drive-up pick-up system during the COVID-19 pandemic. TrueNorth also offers a mobile food pantry where a truck from Feeding America West Michigan comes and people can get up to 50 pounds of healthy food.
2. What is CHEF?
CHEF Stands for Newaygo County Hunger Elimination Force. This is a group of organizations that provide food assistance in our county. We meet and collaborate to ensure the growing food needs are met in our area.
3. Prior to COVID-19 what was the need in Newaygo County for food compared to what you are experiencing right now?
Since COVID-19, the needs of individuals seeking food assistance has doubled and we expect it to grow. The mobile food pantry at TrueNorth is now offered twice a month thanks to support from the Fremont Area Community Foundation. We served over 200 families at our last mobile food pantry.
4. Where can someone turn if they can't afford food? And, what can someone do to help out?
If someone is seeking a food emergency they can call 2-1-1 which will then direct them to the nearest pantry. Second, they can contact DHHS to get information on applying for SNAP benefits. And, they can find resources nearest them by using the new Food Resources Map below.
Here is a NEW FOOD RESOURCES MAP that shows where pantries and other resources for food are located. Thank you to John Warden, GIS Coordinator, Newaygo County, for assisting NC3 by creating this tool to help people locate pantry and mobile pantry locations, Meals on Wheels, senior congregate meal sites, and meals for students. Please share this with your colleagues and clients if you find this map helpful. If you have additions or corrections, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.