The Beacon of Light award honors local hunger relief efforts. This year, Chef Michael McFarlen, the vice president of food and beverage at FireKeepers Casino Hotel was chosen as the winner by the Food Bank Council of Michigan. He was nominated for the award for his close work with the Battle Creek-based Food Bank of South Central Michigan.
“Being in the foodservice industry it is evident how many people go without eating due to economic situations, especially in Michigan’s economy,” said Chef McFarlen in a press release. “Working for a company like FireKeepers Casino Hotel has given me the time and opportunities to pursue a long time passion for giving back.”
Chef McFarlen first began volunteering in the Southwest Michigan area after relocating to Marshall/Battle Creek in early 2009. Chef McFarlen participates in a wide variety of events and organizations to help feed children, first responders, and the hungry. These charities and organizations include, The Food Bank of South Central Michigan, The Boys and Girls Club of Kalamazoo, S.A.F.E Place Shelter, the Red Cross of Battle Creek, Salvation Army, Pennfield Schools and many other organizations throughout southwest Michigan.
“Chef McFarlen’s outstanding efforts and commitment to ending hunger do not go unnoticed,” states Dr. Phillip Knight, Executive Director of Food Bank Council of Michigan. “Food Bank Council of Michigan sees people and organizations throughout the state that inspire others with a commitment to their food bank. These ‘Beacons of Light’ make a lasting impact in the community and deserve to be recognized for it.”
Chef McFarlen received his award on November 19 at a special awards ceremony that took place at the Country Club of Lansing.
Chef McFarlen was also recently named as a finalist for Volunteer of the Year by the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC). The MCSC has been the state’s leading agency in volunteerism since its inception in 1991. The MCSC is made up of 26 commissioners, including Governor Rick Snyder.
“Since moving to the Battle Creek area, Chef Michael McFarlen has been an excellent example of what it means to give back to the community”, said FireKeepers CEO Brian Decorah. “Here at FireKeepers, we couldn’t be more proud that he is being recognized for his efforts in the community.”
FireKeepers Casino Hotel is owned and operated by the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi.