The holiday season is a time of joy, and if one's lucky, of plenty.
Sadly hunger continues to be a problem, with one in four Michigan children living in poverty and nearly half qualifying for free or low-cost school lunches. Some of these youngsters can only look forward to plenty of hunger pangs, but here at Patch we want to help.
Patch has launched an online food drive, with all of its 30 Michigan sites participating. Patch is partnering with Gleaners Community Food Bank in this virtual food drive, and the goal is to raise $10,000 by Nov. 17 to help feed local families.
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Follow progress of Patch's fight against hunger. Click to watch donations grow!
- Forty percent of the people Gleaners helps are under the age of 18, and it provides 45 million pounds of food every year to Michigan's hungry through a partnership of hundreds of food pantries, schools, soup kitchens, shelters and nonprofit agencies. While 45 million pounds is a massive number, it's still not enough.
- The five southeast Michigan counties where Gleaners offers — Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, — saw double-digit increases in children qualifying for free and discounted school lunch programs.
- More than 317,000 are in need of a warm, nutritious meal in school.
That being said, you can help -- or get help -- in any number of ways.
- To find the nearest emergency food provider, visit pantrynet.org or call United Way’s 2-1-1 line, which Natalie Fotias, marketing manager for Gleaners, says can connect people with other basic needs, too.
- Gleaners has ongoing food drives, too, learn more at gcfb.org to find out what’s happening near you.
- Volunteers are also welcome. People can pack food boxes, teach cooking classes, tend gardens and more.
There are other ways to fight the hunger problem.
Volunteers are needed to help spread the word to Busch's Fresh Food Market customers about the many ways they can help a family in need this holiday season. Customers can purchase “Ready to Go” food bags for $10, or $5 gift cards for produce and $10 gift cards for meats or simply make a contribution to Forgotten Harvest at the register.
Busch's needs help between the hours of 4–8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.–8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Meanwhile, the West Bloomfield Fire Department has partnered with Open Door Outreach Center to join the fight against hunger and is collecting canned food at any of their stations now through Nov. 15. Foods most urgently needed include cereal, pasta, rice, turkey gravy, canned stew, peanut butter and jelly. Call 248-409-1505 for further information.