Food Insecurity

By Ellie Walburg  (March 6, 2017)

Myth: People can find healthy foods anywhere they live

Fact: 30 million Americans lack access to supermarket within one mile of their home

For millions of Americans, biting into a sweet, tasty carrot is not possible every day. Licking the fresh watermelon juice from your chin is only a special treat. In an abundance of healthy foods, people still are left to settle for a bag of chips.

In 2013, nearly 30 million Americans did not have access to a grocery store within one mile of their house to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. Between 6 and 9 percent of U.S. households don’t have access to healthy food (The Food Trust).

In rural areas, the lack of access is even greater. A recent study found that 20 percent of rural counties, which is 8 percent of the rural population, had supermarkets farther than 10 miles than one’s home. Lack of transportation can be a contributing factor for those rural areas. In 2013, 2.6 million Americans didn’t own a vehicle and lived more than one mile from a supermarket, with the lowest percentage of ownership for low-income families (The Food Trust). Read More.

Poverty Simulation Staffers Make the Workshops Happen

By Ellie Walburg  (March 1, 2017)

Our staffers are important here at Access of West Michigan.

In preparation for an upcoming Poverty Simulation, volunteer staffers Mary, Cindy, Tom and Rhoeda are busy at work compiling participant packets and organizing materials.

The Poverty Simulation is just one of many programs at Access of West Michigan to create solutions to poverty through education and collaboration. The goal in these seminars is to bring awareness of the realities of poverty and to encourage people to get involved.

The “Living on the Edge” poverty simulation provides an opportunity for participants to walk in the shoes of someone living in a low-income environment. The participant must navigate with their “family” how to provide for expenses, make ends meet and be sustainable throughout the event. Read More.


Poverty Simulation asks: "what could we do differently?"

By Ellie Walburg  (February 23, 2017)

Poverty Simulation Asks:

Reading a news article about someone living in poverty is one thing.

Actually experiencing it is another.

Thursday afternoon on February 9, Metro Health Hospital Services hosted a poverty simulation workshop with Access of West Michigan. The goal of the poverty education program is to create awareness of the realities of poverty and bring inspiration for change in an experiential way. 

Participants in the Living on the Edge poverty simulation at Metro Health were assigned profiles detailing their name, age, family, income level and other related details. Each “family” then completed four weeks, made up of 15-minute increments, in providing groceries, paying bills, attending doctor’s appointments and other requirements as outlined on their profiles. Read More.