We continued our focus on increasing access to food for our neighbors in 2023 at the Huss Project through several programs.
Our Fresh Food Initiative, in partnership with the South Michigan Food Bank, provides free food boxes for 150 families on the third Saturday of each month—which adds up to over 5,400 neighbors receiving food through this program each year. These boxes usually feature produce, bulk staples like rice or lentils, eggs, and other fresh foods. Often, we’re able to add milk, baked goods, and fresh produce to the boxes. Anyone in need is eligible to receive food!
This summer, we partnered again with the Three Rivers School District to provide over 2,700 free lunches to school-aged children. We have been hosting this summer lunch program for 11 years and have distributed nearly 15,000 meals to neighborhood kids in the last five years. During lunches, kids often play with Huss staff—throwing a football, drawing with chalk, riding bikes—or visit the Huss urban farm to learn more about the food we’re growing there.
Speaking of our urban farm: we once again grew several tons of a wide variety of delicious vegetables using organic methods! We sell about half of our produce through the Huss Project Farmer’s Market and half are distributed through our weekly vegetable distribution program. This seasonal program features fresh, local produce from our farm and local partner farms such as Corey Lake Orchards, Butternut Sustainable Farms, Bair Lane Farm, Sustainable Greens, Full Circle Farm, and more. The distribution is every Tuesday during our summer lunch program (11:30am-noon) from July through October. This year, we distributed over 6,000 pounds of delicious produce to neighbors who lack access to fresh vegetables.
Finally, we do everything we can to make the Huss Project Farmer’s Market financially accessible to all of our neighbors. The market accepts as many payment options as we can, including SNAP, WIC Project Fresh, Senior Project Fresh, and Double Up Food Bucks. Our unique single point-of-sale set up at our market means that all customers make their purchases in the same place, removing some of the stigma often associated with utilizing food assistance programs. We also self-fund Huss Project Fresh Food Cards through tips at the market, which allows us to provide $15 Farmer’s Market gift cards to all 150 families at the July Fresh Food Initiative distribution—$2,250 in direct assistance to our neighbors. Families can use these cards to purchase anything they’d like from the market, giving more agency and choice to our neighbors than we’re able to with the food boxes.
Thank you, again, to everyone who makes these programs possible, from our AmeriCorps VISTAs and VISTA Summer Associates to community volunteers to our institutional partners. If you’d like to support these programs financially, we welcome you to click the donate button below. Any amount helps!