On Oct. 27, more than 1,200 Bay County residents gathered to receive education and resources through a local event called Project Connect. Residents in need had the opportunity to receive free bags of food, no-cost flu shots, dental services and medical care and equipment, and to participate in a winter coat giveaway. Nearly 40 local agencies and vendors organize and sponsor this event, which has been taking place in the Bay City community for the past four years.
Michigan State University Extension staff in Bay County collaborated across program areas to educate individuals and families about cooking with local food commodities. The Bay County 4‑H Youth Program, SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education) and the Downtown Bay City Farmers Market staff worked together to secure donations from local agri-businesses and producers. Those donations included 850 pounds of potatoes, 600 pounds of onions and lunch bags for packaging. More than 600 recipe bags were assembled and distributed containing four potatoes, one onion and a recipe for “Unbelievably Easy Potato Soup.” At the event, staff met with individuals and families explaining how they can make the soup using minimal resources, yet easily feed a family of approximately four individuals.
The collaborative efforts of local agencies during this event created an amazing awareness for residents in Bay County. Project Connect did exactly as its name implies – it connected the residents of Bay County with agencies where they can receive education, resources and assistance.