Food distribution needs grow with pandemic, schools reopening

Story first appeared in C&G Newspapers

METRO DETROIT — The 11th year of the “Mow Down Hunger” campaign may be the most important of them all.

The campaign, composed of a partnership between Gleaners Community Food Bank and Weingartz, began Sept. 14 and concludes Oct. 6. Weingartz, a Michigan-based and family-owned retailer, will match donations dollar for dollar, for up to 1 million meals.

Each dollar donated to Gleaners provides six nutritious meals to hungry children across five counties in southeast Michigan: Macomb, Oakland, Wayne, Livingston and Monroe.

Stacy Averill, vice president of community giving and public relations at Gleaners, said Weingartz approached the food bank 11 years ago to start the campaign to put a dent in hunger and food insecurity. The campaign kickoff is aligned with when schools reopen.

More than 310,000 children in southeast Michigan rely on free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunches at school, Gleaners said. That extends into the School Food Mobile pantries program, which provides healthy food options to students and families at more than 80 area distribution sites.