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Fighting urban poverty

April Meyers wanted to establish her professional roots in metro Detroit while helping the community that she is so passionate about.

Meyers, a 2010 graduate from Grand Valley with a bachelor's degree in public and nonprofit administration, works for AmeriCorps VISTA, a national service program designed specifically to fight poverty.

Meyers, a Novi native, said that a survey conducted by the USDA in 2009 stated that an estimated 15 percent of U.S. households are considered food insecure. "Food insecurity is the lack of basic nutritional needs in order to sustain oneself for a period," said Meyers. "A person would be deemed food insecure if they are unsure of how they are going to obtain their next meal, or their next week's meals."

Meyers works for AmeriCorps VISTA through Schoolcraft College and the Michigan Campus Compact, which links members with building sustainable programs from universities with the surrounding communities. After hearing that Michigan State University and Delta College had successful food pantry programs for the community, she wanted to do the same thing for Detroit area residents. The food pantry, located in a former storage room on campus, will be managed by Meyers along with the help of honor students and the Student Activities office.

Meyers said that they are working on creating a community garden on a plot of land at Schoolcraft College that will provide sustainable food, as well as become an educational tool to inspire other urban garden projects in Metro Detroit.

"Detroit is my home," said Meyers. "I'm lucky to be able to use the skills I learned at Grand Valley to help improve the place I love."

 

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