The Rapidian

Food Bank explains why Blue Bridge is orange

The iconic Blue Bridge spanning the Grand River will be lit orange from Aug. 29-Sept. 2. Find out why.
Lights on the Blue Bridge will be orange from Aug. 29-Sept. 2.

Lights on the Blue Bridge will be orange from Aug. 29-Sept. 2. /Russell Sekeet

Underwriting support from:

Hops Against Hunger

A coalition of breweries and restaurants are fighting hunger in Grand Rapids and across the state this September. Find one in your neighborhood:

Grand Rapids

  • Terra GR Restaurant
  • Grand Rapids Brewing Company
  • HopCat Grand Rapids

Statewide

  • New Holland Brewing Company
  • Greenbush Brewing
  • Beards Brewery
  • Burnt Marshmallow Brewing
  • Ore Dock Brewing Company
  • HopCat Ann Arbor
  • HopCat Detroit
  • HopCat East Lansing
September is Hunger Action Month.

September is Hunger Action Month. /Feeding America West Michigan

Feeding America West Michigan encourages people to get involved, especially if they never have before.

Feeding America West Michigan encourages people to get involved, especially if they never have before. /Feeding America West Michigan

If you’re in downtown Grand Rapids between Aug. 29 and Sept. 2, you may notice something a little different about the iconic Blue Bridge spanning the Grand River. The City of Grand Rapids will be turning its lights orange, the color of hunger, to kick off Hunger Action Month, a campaign to raise awareness of food insecurity in West Michigan.

“People in our community need to understand that hunger is not an issue of the past. It’s not something that affects people somewhere else. It’s a problem people are struggling with right here in Grand Rapids,” said Ken Estelle, CEO of Feeding America West Michigan, the organization behind Hunger Action Month.

In fact, one in eight people in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula is food insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to healthy food. Among children, it’s one in five.

The solution, Estelle says, is found in the food banking model: reclaiming surplus food from farmers, grocery stores and processors and distributing it to local food pantries, soup kitchens, and backpack programs. With this model, Feeding America West Michigan is able to provide 23 million meals per year.

Last year, 6.4 million of those meals were distributed in Kent County. Local partners include Kids’ Food Basket, Salvation Army Social Services and Catholic Charities West Michigan.

The goal of Hunger Action Month is to bring new people into that effort. Feeding America West Michigan is asking the community to volunteer, make a donation, raise a glass in the Hops Against Hunger initiative and vote for National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore’s Hunger Series on display at DeVos Place during ArtPrize.

More information about these and other Hunger Action Month events is available at FeedWM.org/HAM.

“Hunger is a big problem in our community,” Estelle said, “but we can solve it if we work together.”

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.

Browse