The Pantry Food Assistance Program is the hallmark program of the Midland County Food Assistance Network (MCFAN). Local churches and agencies, as well as 211 (formerly First Call for Help), refer individuals and families in need of food to MCFAN, where they are interviewed by our coordinator to ensure they qualify for assistance. If they meet MCFAN’s criteria for assistance, the coordinator arranges an appointment with one of our eight pantries located throughout Midland County. These clients receive a seven-day supply of food as well as personal care items, cleaning supplies, and gift certificates. Gift certificates can be used to purchase perishable items and to supplement the food and household supplies that are received from the pantries. These certificates cannot be used for alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, lottery tickets, money orders, or cash.
What are the EFPN criteria and who qualifies?
We provide assistance to those who are at 200% of the poverty level or who are experiencing a financial emergency and are unable to afford food. Generally, clients can be helped as often as 6 times per year. Additionally, the MCFAN coordinator reserves the right to help a client more often and is responsible for ensuring the most effective use of our resources to avoid abuse and help those in need.
Do recipients get to choose the food they want?
Some pantries have volunteers who pick out and bag the food for the clients. Four of our pantries operate “U-Pick” pantries which allow clients to choose their own food and supplies.