Consumers Energy Foundation gives $500K to help kids, seniors affected by COVID-19

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

The Food Bank Council of Michigan and the Michigan Association of United Ways will each get $250,000 from Consumers Energy's charitable arm to help children and seniors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said.

“For many, the coronavirus pandemic is more than just a disruption to daily life," Brandon Hofmeister, president of the Consumers Energy Foundation, said in a statement.

"Families with kids who are food insecure, the elderly and those who live paycheck to paycheck are especially vulnerable. With schools and businesses closed and many grocery store shelves left bare, local nonprofits are playing a critical role in helping those in need.”

Based in Jackson, the foundation works to help Michigan communities thrive and grow.

Officials said the Food Bank Council of Michigan will distribute its $250,000 to its regional food bank network to fill gaps where schools are unable to provide food for children, vulnerable seniors and the anticipated growing need that will surface as more people are unable to work due to COVID-19.

They said the Michigan Association of United Ways (MAUW) will share the funding with United Way organizations located in Consumers Energy service areas that have set up or are deploying emergency response activities in local communities.

Earlier this week, Consumers Energy announced the suspension of shut-offs for non-pay for low-income and senior customers through April 5, 2020, with the possibility of adjusting that timeframe depending on the spread and severity of COVID-19. Senior citizens and qualified low-income customers already enrolled in the Winter Protection Program have extended end dates through May 3, 2020.

MoreConsumers, DTE suspend shutoffs for seniors, low-income customers

The Jackson-based company provides natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million customers in Michigan's 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Twitter: @CharlesERamirez