WARREN — With school out for the summer, representatives from the Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan realize that means many children will go without the breakfast and lunch meals they typically receive for free during the school year.
Several years ago, Gleaners started a program known as the Hunger Free Summer Campaign in which the community food bank delivered food to local outreach sites to distribute meals to local children in need at no cost. Headquartered in Detroit, Gleaners operates five distribution centers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties.
This summer, the Academy of Warren, located at 13943 E. Eight Mile Road at Schoenherr, has been providing meals to local children ages 18 and younger and invited the community to take part in the program. The program started June 27, and the last day for the campaign at the academy site is Aug. 4.
“We welcome everyone to come out and participate,” said Carmen McCloud, Academy of Warren food coordinator. “ It’s a really good program.”
Breakfast is served from 7:40 to 7:55 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and lunch is from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays. A variety of meals are offered. A recent breakfast, for example, included a banana, a muffin and milk. A lunch included lasagna, mixed vegetables, an orange and milk. So far, the Academy of Warren site has been serving between 80 and 90 breakfasts and just under 100 lunches daily.
“Everything is going well. Gleaners is doing an awesome job,” McCloud said. “The children are enjoying the food. The quality of the food is outstanding. The deliveries are on time.”
In addition to Gleaners’ presence, members from the National Kidney Foundation have been visiting on Wednesdays to talk to the children about the importance of healthy eating.
According to Gleaners representatives, the goal is to distribute 4.5 million meals to children during the summer. To accomplish that, Gleaners has set up the Hunger Free Summer matching gift campaign to raise funds to provide 2 million meals of the 4.5 million-meal goal. Members of the community are invited to make monetary donations to the program. All gifts are matched by Citizens Bank and other sponsors. The remaining meals are provided through food donations or financial support from other sources.
“Teachers tell us they worry about kids getting enough to eat over the summer,” Gleaners President Gerry Brisson said in a prepared statement. “The meals we raise through Hunger Free Summer offer immediate and much-needed relief and stability to those families, so their children can return to school healthy and ready to learn. I’m grateful to citizens and all of our match partners for making this possible.”
For anyone who would like to help make the program a success, donations can be made online at www.HungerFreeSummer.org or by calling (866) GLEANER. Checks also can be sent to Gleaners, 2131 Beaufait St., Detroit, MI 48207. Please note “Hunger Free Summer” on the memo line.
The campaign can be followed on social media sites via #HungerFreeSummer on Facebook.com/GleanersFan and Twitter.com/Gleaners.
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