JACKSON, Mich., Jan. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers Energy and the City of Jackson today announced the start of the Our Town meal distribution program, a one-of-a-kind collaboration in Michigan to support local restaurants and provide free meals to community members.
The new Our Town program will distribute thousands of meals to Jackson families in need for 10 weeks, starting Feb. 1. Nearly $500,000 contributed by Consumers Energy and several community partners will pay over 20 locally owned restaurants to prepare healthy meals. Restaurants also will ensure that over half of the food is locally sourced, creating more economic value for the community.
"We are excited this innovative and collaborative effortwill assist those in need in our hometown," said Roger Curtis, Consumers Energy's vice president for public affairs. "We have been so touched by the generosity of our friends with the City of Jackson and community partners who are stepping up to ensure our local restaurants stay in business and our neighbors do not go hungry."
The Jackson effort is inspired by Everyone Eats, a program in Brattleboro, Vt., that used federal funding to support restaurants and provide thousands of meals. Consumers Energy and Jackson city officials hope the Our Town approach can lead to more donor-driven efforts across Michigan.
City of Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies applauded the quick work of city staff to collaborate with Consumers Energy and others. The effort also is supported by the Dream Maker Fund, the Jackson Community Foundation and the Enterprise Group Community Ventures Corporation.
"Our amazing City of Jackson staff have been instrumental in getting this much-needed program going," Dobies said. "This partnership with Consumers Energy really speaks to the commitment of our community to make sure everyone is cared for during this ongoing pandemic and hunger issues are kept at the forefront."
The Our Town effort joins other recent efforts by Consumers Energy to support Michigan businesses. In December, the company provided $850,000in matching gift cards for small businesses in over 55 communities. The company's charitable foundation has provided nearly another $2.5 million in support to Michigan businesses.
"This is a hopeful time for our state as Michiganders start to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the governor announcing plans to reopen restaurants next month," Curtis said. "We still need to support our town, and every town, until our restaurants get completely back on their feet."
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.