As the pandemic wages on, Consumers Energy and the city of Jackson have been working together to provide free meals from local restaurants to those who need them.

According to MLive, the Our Town Meal Distribution program started back in the beginning of February and has already distributed 18,000 meals and has pumped $200,000 into Jackson's restaurant economy.

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Inspired by an NBC Nightly News Special about a similar plan in Brattleboro, Vermont (see below), the program in Jackson is the product of Consumers Energy partnering with other community organizations to raise nearly half-a-million dollars to fund it all.

The way it works, MLive reports is the restaurants are paid $10 per meal, must locally source at least half the food and also have options for vegetarians.

Jackson-area restaurants that are participating in the program include: Veritas, The Crazy Cowboy, Cascades Manor House, Marino’s Pizza and Catering, Junkyard Dog, Aggies Sports Bar and more!

Then, each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, MLive says about 1,200 pre-packaged dinners are then distributed by volunteers at the MLK Center.

In a recent statement, MLive reports MLK Center Director Antonio Parker highlights just how much the demand for meals shows the pandemic's impact on the Jackson community: “This is something families depend on to make ends meet, and they tell us how thankful they are for this program.”

According to MLive, the program could last longer if more funding is received but for now, it is expected to run until April 9th with a change in schedule in respects to Good Friday (April 2nd). Meals will be distributed that Thursday (April 1st) instead.

For more information on how to donate and more, CLICK HERE!

Here are some more community resources that could potentially help families in need:

KEEP READING: 50 community resources supporting Americans financially impacted by COVID-19