12 Ways Gleaners is Serving Livingston County

From November 11 through November 22, 2023, we’re celebrating the 12 Days of Gleaners with 12 specific examples of how Gleaners is working throughout Livingston County to address food insecurity.  

During these 12 days, the Ford Motor Company Fund is generously matching all donations! That means every $1 you share will be turned into 6 meals for a member of your local community.   

Across Gleaners’ five-county service area, we are seeing a 30 percent increase in requests for food. In Livingston County alone, more than 6,000 students may not have enough to eat – the highest number in 10 years. Explore the 12 ways Gleaners is working throughout Livingston County to get food into the hands of our neighbors who need it. You’ll see how your support provides important resources – giving our neighbors a place to turn when they need help putting food on the table. 

1.      Last year, Gleaners distributed more than 2.1 million pounds of food through the Livingston Shared Harvest Pantry in Howell. That’s more than 1.8 million meals for local families! Housed within Gleaners’ Livingston County warehouse, the Shared Harvest Pantry is designed to look and function like a small grocery store, with aisles of shelf-stable staples and fresh bread, donated from local bakeries, as well as refrigerators full of fresh produce and dairy items like milk, cheese, and eggs. Guests have the freedom to shop the store and select items that fit their family needs best. 

2.      Fresh Market at Shared Harvest Pantry. This no-appointment distribution allows guests to drive up and receive fresh items like fluid milk, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables.  Fresh Market empowers our neighbors by providing access to produce on a weekly basis, helping them stretch their food budgets and encouraging healthy lifestyles. 

3.      Fresh milk. Fresh fluid milk is among the most highly requested food items from our guests. Through partnerships with local dairy farmers and retailers, Gleaners was able to distribute more than 41,000 gallons of milk to families in Livingston County this past year. 

4.      Schools and School Food Mobiles – Hunger is often hidden, but it exists in every district in Livingston County. Gleaners works closely with Livingston County school partners to host drive-up School Food Mobile distributions to school families, so students can come to school with the nutritious food they need to grow and learn. To help parents prepare healthy meals at home, our food boxes include recipe cards that incorporate the ingredients being shared. 

5.      Senior Food Mobiles – Seniors often face unique barriers to accessing enough healthy food, such as transportation and rising grocery costs on a fixed income. Inflation has increased drastically, and Social Security has been unable to keep pace. Gleaners is meeting seniors where they are by delivering nutritious food to local senior living complexes and co-ops. 

6.      Veteran Mobiles – Gleaners partners with local veterans’ agencies to provide nutritious food to the more than 12,000 veterans who reside in Livingston County. As a community, we are grateful to those who bravely served and strive to ensure our veterans are well-fed and cared for. 

7.      Government programs and partnerships — One of Gleaners’ biggest strengths is our purchasing power, or the ability to buy food in bulk at a discounted rate. We partner with local organizations such as the Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency (OLHSA) to distribute foods provided through government programs such as USDA assistance, The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). 

8.      Livingston County Hunger Council —This work cannot be done alone. Gleaners works closely with all members of the Livingston County Hunger Council to systemically respond to and solve food insecurity. Through these relationships, Gleaners is able to work with partners to find resourceful, efficient, and unique solutions to serve those in need throughout Livingston County. 

9.      Partner agencies — In Livingston County, we distribute nutritious food to our neighbors in need through 44 distribution sites, including shelters, mobile distributions, seasonal programs food pantries and produce carts. 

10.      Nutrition Education — Gleaners’ team of nutrition experts is helping families prepare healthy meals on a budget. Gleaners Community Kitchen presents live cooking demonstrations on Gleaners’ YouTube and Facebook pages, provides healthy recipes to help families use the nutritious foods we distribute, and offers free Cooking Matters courses for children, teens, adults and seniors. 

11.      Produce Carts – With the support of the Livingston County Hunger Council, Gleaners delivers fresh produce to 10 produce carts throughout the county twice a week. A good portion of this produce comes from our Livingston Victory Garden, which encourages community members to learn to grow their own food and helps provide fresh fruits and vegetables to those facing food insecurity. 

12.      Volunteers — We all share the same passion in giving back to our community, and our volunteers play a crucial role in feeding our hungry neighbors. Every year, tens of thousands of volunteer shifts are completed by individuals, corporate groups, and organizations to sort and pack food items – and distribute that food to guests with a smile. Other volunteers play behind-the-scenes roles, answering phones at our annual telethon events and processing data that enables Gleaners to best serve the needs of our hungry neighbors.  

When you donate during the 12 Days of Gleaners, your dollars will be put to work right away to keep food flowing to Livingston County kids, families, and seniors. Please give generously!  

The Ford Motor Company Fund match allows us to double your gift and reach more neighbors! When you give $10, we can provide 60 meals. $25 provides 150 meals. $100 means 600 healthy, balanced meals for members of your Livingston County community. Thank you for being there for your neighbors this holiday season. Because of your generosity, someone will eat today!