Blog, News

South Michigan Stories: July 2022

Hi there,

It’s Peter, CEO at South Michigan Food Bank. This summer, our neighbors are spending 11% more on groceries, meaning that ⅓ of their budgets are allocated to acquiring food for their families. They need all of us now more than ever.

At our Food Bank, we’re spending 50% more on food than we were in 2020. But South Michigan Food Bank has been dedicated to feeding families for 40 years — and we’re committed to the next 40.

We’re excited to share victories and fight challenges together. If you’d like to join in and fill table, you can make a gift here.

From me and our whole SMFB team — we’re so grateful you’re part of the movement to end hunger. Thank you for believing in a community where everyone has what they need to thrive!

With gratitude,


Tami Pitale, SMFB Board Vice Chair, on the Fight Against Hunger

Tami and her husband, Dylan, have been married for 27 years and have 3 kids, Gavin, Nadia, and Alaina. She has been the Commercial Loan Officer at Honor Credit Union for nearly 3 months, coming from 15 years at Old National Bank as the branch manager, where she caught the philanthropy bug. She started volunteering and found she could use her skills and talents for the betterment of the community.

How Tami Joined the Food Bank Family

When Tami worked at Old National Bank, the bank made a generous donation to help build South Michigan Food Bank’s current Community Room. When the room was finished, Tami and her coworkers visited to see the finished product and also saw the warehouse and volunteer floor.

“It really just touched a chord with me and made me see that I’m very fortunate where I’m sitting.” At work or with friends, Tami realized that any family could be one major crisis away from needing help. To make sure that those families have the help they need, she joined the board and continued volunteering.

What Keeps Tami Engaged with the Food Bank

Everyone utilizes the Food Bank for a different reason. When Tami’s mom would pick up her neighbor to go to a distribution, they would each receive a box. Tami’s mom would use this extra food to gain a little extra room in her budget, enabling her to acquire other things for her household and grandkids. But her neighbor needed the food to live, as she had very limited resources and had a hard time acquiring food, nonetheless paying other bills.

With her experience in banking, Tami takes opportunities to share the Food Bank’s resources with those she sees in tough financial situations. 

“They know that they need to eat, however they know that if they’re late on their bill, that could be a penalty where they now have to pay extra. So they struggle with those types of decisions. So if we can relieve that in some way, it helps them to be able to make a more balanced decision.”

Why Tami’s Passionate about the Fight

Lately, Tami’s sees there’s just not enough food and the cost of food is just getting tougher and tougher for everyone. Those who were in a situation where they didn’t have to worry about finances are now struggling.

She knows that the Food Bank provides hope and resources to anyone who needs it.

What Tami Loves about the Board

“I’m very passionate about helping people and being a servant leader. And so it’s important for me to make an impact.”

“I’m a worker,” Tami said. Being able to use the resources and connections she has in her network to further a cause she’s passionate about fuels her drive for the board. Using her knowledge and experience, she loves welcoming new members onto the board and guiding them along as they get to know the organization.

What Keeps Tami Hopeful

Tami has hope because she sees the impact.

“I see the family friend who doesn’t have to worry. The more people impacted, the better. We have this resource, just more people need to know about it… When you start hearing people’s stories, you see the impact you can make.”

Make an impact. Join the movement to end hunger at smfoodbank.org/donate.

Volunteer Highlight

Farm Bureau

This June, we loved partnering with Farm Bureau Insurance for their first annual Volunteer Days! Local Farm Bureau Agents spent their morning volunteering in our Clean Room and packing produce into our Fresh Food Boxes, providing meals for 802 families! We are so thankful for Farm Bureau’s generosity!

Deb & Kathy

Deb and Kathy became friends by volunteering at South Michigan Food Bank! Check out this video to see how they fight hunger together: 

Deb & Kathy’s Story

Food Site Highlight

Bill runs the Tri-County Labor Pantry, which grew from serving 15 families in 2021 to 70 families this summer. He says that being able to help families has been a blessing to him and the volunteers — but being able to give kids a little something extra really touches his heart. When Bill comes to South Michigan Food Bank to pick up items for his pantry, he always makes sure to get some extra treats for them. One day, he was able to pick up 4 action figures. When one of his regular clients came to the pantry with her 4 foster boys, he knew exactly who to give the action figures to. Seeing their faces light up as they began playing with them before even leaving the parking lot brought a tear to Bill’s eye. 

Thanks to the Tri-County Labor Pantry and Bill for brightening lives in South Michigan!

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