Kids Helping Kids

Gleaners Community Food Bank partners with local schools to end child hunger one school at a time. Food is distributed year-round, including summer months when the risk of child hunger is at its greatest. 

BackPack Program

Nearly 300,000 children in our area receive 2 out of 3 meals at school. Some of these meals are free or at a reduced cost to the family. On the weekend, these children often go without meals. Gleaners partners with local schools to distribute backpacks filled with nutritious food for children who rely on free or reduced priced meals during the week.

Each backpack contains:

  • shelf stable milk
  • canned protein
  • canned fruit
  • canned vegetables
  • whole grain cereal or crackers

In the Classroom

We bring Gleaners to the classroom during this impactful 60 minute program for grades 3-5. Youth learn about Gleaners' mission, hunger, and the act of volunteerism through a short presentation and engaging activity. If you'd like Gleaners to come to your classroom, please email

Detroit Food Zoo


Gleaners Detroit Food Zoo is located across the street from our main warehouse in Detroit. This garden offers opportunities for self-guided learning, group learning as well as garden volunteer experiences targeted to youth and our partner agencies. This garden demonstrates ways in which food pantries can start their own vegetable gardens and connects them to resources in order for them or their clients to get started for free or at low cost.

Youth Nutrition Workshops:
Kids benefit by learning the importance of healthy eating, having fun in the fresh air, and knowing that their garden work is feeding hungry people. Our workshops combine nutrition education and gardening. To schedule a workshop at the Detroit Food Zoo, please email

Empty Bowls

Work with an artist and create two clay bowls. One to keep and one to donate to Gleaners to support school based program. The required donation is $5 per participant. To volunteer, please email us at


Youth learn about hunger and nutrition as well as volunteer on a project that will help their hungry peers. Volunteer tasks include sorting and packing food, preparing supplies for food drives and more. Up to 30 youth needed per shift. To volunteer, please email us at

Become a Backpack Sponsor

Foundations, companies and individual sponsors provide partial support for these programs. To support a school or classroom, please contact our Development Department at 866-GLEANER.