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Students lead effort to fill pantries before busy holiday season

Northwestern Michigan College students are kicking off the fifth annual Food for Thought Food Drive this week.

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Northwestern Michigan College students are kicking off the fifth annual Food for Thought Food Drive this week.

The business communications students at NMC are working with the Northwest Food Coalition for the food drive October 18- November 18.

The Northwest Food Coalition identifies 22 percent of families in the five-county region as being food insecure, or lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. The group serves more than 500,000 meals a year to address that need.

"Food insecurity is a huge problem in northern Michigan," said Hunter Krecow, a freshman at NMC and one of the students involved with the food drive.

The Food for Thought Food Drive is a semester long experiential learning project that collects donations on behalf of the coalition, and enhances students’ professional communication skills.

For the first time, students will also collect food for a new NMC Food Bank.

NMC staff and students created the pantry after noting an increase in food insecurity among students. The Minus 5 Project identifies that in a class of 40 students, as many as 5 could be food insecure.

"We just want to make sure everyone who is sitting in our classrooms is fed and rested and able to learn," said NMC Library Director Tina Ulrich, who is also on the food pantry committee.

Community members can help by donating non-perishable food and personal hygiene items in Food for Thought collection barrels at the following NMC locations October 18- November 18:

• Main Campus: Osterlin Library, West Hall and the Health and Science Building

• Aero Park Campus: Parsons-Stulen Building

• University Center Campus

Tom’s Food Markets will be accepting donations from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m., October 21- 22 at its East Bay, West Bay Interlochen and 14th Street locations. The public is invited to bring donations to the S.T.E.M. Exploration Day at NMC’s Parsons-Stulen Building 11a.m.- 3p.m., November 18. The community can also make financial donations to support the pantries at any of the events or on the NMC Foundation website.

Anyone who donates at least 5 items or $5 will be entered into a raffle for prizes donated by local businesses.

If you need help finding an area food pantry click here.

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