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EatGR, FoodCircles ask West Michigan to raise forks for hunger relief

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

By encouraging people to dine out at local restaurants, the two groups hope to raise enough money to buy Feeding America West Michigan a new forklift.
Raise Your Forks! is a three-way partnership between FoodCircles, EatGR, and Feeding America West Michigan.

Raise Your Forks! is a three-way partnership between FoodCircles, EatGR, and Feeding America West Michigan. /EatGR

Forklift Facts

A Food Bank forklift moves an average of 237,000 pounds per month and 2.84 million pounds per year.

Over its lifetime, a single Food Bank forklift can move nearly 20 million pounds of food.

Every dollar donated toward a new forklift will move 190 pounds of food in the next year.

The average forklift can carry 5,000 lbs at one time. The average Food Banker shouldn’t carry more than 50 lbs at one time.

EatGR founder Chris Freeman learns firsthand the value of a working forklift.

EatGR founder Chris Freeman learns firsthand the value of a working forklift. /Feeding America West Michigan

Food. It’s an essential part of life and, increasingly, an essential part of Grand Rapids’ identity. But even as the local restaurant scene is flourishing, thousands of families in our community are struggling to get enough to eat. This holiday season, two local food groups are joining forces to do something about it.

On Nov. 17, EatGR and FoodCircles are launching the Raise Your Forks! campaign. Running through the end of the year, Raise Your Forks! supports Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank and its mission to provide food to all who need it in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

“EatGR is all about exploring our community one meal at a time,” said Wendy Hammond, who runs EatGR together with founder Chris Freeman. “Our members also care about those in our community who don’t have enough to eat.”

Raise Your Forks! uses the FoodCircles app to connect food lovers to meal deals at local restaurants. Based on a pay-what-you-want model, users select a dish, name their price, and 100 percent of their payment will be passed on to Feeding America West Michigan. The concept, as FoodCircles likes to say, is BOFO: “buy one, feed one.”

In keeping with the fork-centric theme, Raise Your Forks! will support the purchase of a new forklift for Feeding America West Michigan. Each Food Bank forklift moves 2.84 million pounds of food per year, and often much more than that. Several units need to be replaced in the next few months to keep the food moving.

“We can’t afford to let even one of our lifts go out of service,” said Food Bank CEO Ken Estelle. “A local donor has offered to pay half the cost of a new unit, but we need the community to match that gift.”

The goal is to raise $7,500 before the end of the year. Hammond believes the Grand Rapids community is up to the challenge.

“Grand Rapids loves food and philanthropy. We’ve got this!”

Among the participating restaurants are Flat Lander’s, Hopcat, Grove, Tacos El Cunado and San Chez Bistro with more set to debut throughout the campaign.

To download the app and join the campaign, visit

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