A study published Monday by relief organization Feeding America finds more than 490,000 people in the state rely on food banks.
Ken Estelle, chief executive officer of Feeding America West Michigan, said Monday most people are one or two catastrophic events away from needing some form of help from organizations like his.
"This study shows us that the face of hunger looks a lot like the one we see in the mirror," he said.
The study found more than half of the organization's clients had to choose between paying for food or healthcare. But the so-called face of hunger wasn't easily divided along income of educational lines.
At least one adult in 30.2 percent of client households had jobs and 40 percent of all clients were educated beyond the high school level.
"There’s a myth out there that those who seek assistance are lazy, that they are choosing not to work," Estelle said. "That couldn’t be further from the truth."