(CBS Detroit) - Small food pantries are closing following the pandemic.
As emergency funds to support operations run out Lighthouse is teaming up with Gleaners to fill the need in Oakland County.
"During the course of the pandemic when we had the level of support that's ideal, we were serving approximately 5,000 individuals with food boxes on a weekly basis," said Lighthouse President & CEO Ryan Hertz.
The partnership creates a no-cost lease at Gleaners' Pontiac facility to strengthen food relief services.
"Any significant financial hit to a household that is on the edge can put a household in a position where they don't have resources to buy food or pay their rent or whatever the case may be for basic needs," Hertz said.
Last year, Lighthouse served over 2 million pounds of food to Oakland County residents, helping over 27,000 individuals and 40,000 home delivery drop-offs.
"For every high-income job that we add to our economy, we're adding five to six low to to mid-income jobs to support that and we have a service industry that requires low to mid-income workers for those businesses to operate and here," Hertz explained.
"So, we need that diversity of housing opportunities and ways for people to sustain themselves in our community."
The effort will help mend economic disparities.
"If you were to look at our average annual household income, Oakland County is fairly high up on the list across the state, but for those who have low to mid-wage jobs who live in some of our lower-income neighborhoods we have people who are really, truly struggling," Hertz said.
"The need is incredible and often invisible."
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