Delivering food safely and efficiently to those in need has always been a top priority at Gleaners. Each year, we provide emergency food to more than 428,000 individuals across Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties. The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought a heightened urgency to serve people affected by the state of emergency—including 300,000 kids who are missing the free and reduced meals they rely on every day.
Our team has utilized the drive-up model of our School Food Mobiles to launch 66 new food distribution sites across SE Michigan, which are in addition to our normal emergency food distributions. We are also working extended hours to pack thousands of emergency food boxes each week targeted to reach seniors who are particularly vulnerable and impacted by this pandemic. In total, we have increased overall food distributions 26 percent, with a goal to reach 10,000 additional households each week during the crisis.
Since mid-March, our team and partners in Livingston County have set up new meal distributions and launched four drive-up mobile food pantries to reach nearly 550 families in need. We also distributed 16,600 meals to Livingston Senior Nutrition and other organizations serving the elderly. These emergency response efforts provided 40,000 pounds of food to children, families, and seniors affected by the crisis, equaling a total of 33,200 nutritious meals.
During the state of emergency, Gleaners continues to serve the Livingston community through our ongoing food distributions at Shared Harvest Pantry, School Food Mobiles, Senior Food Mobiles, and our network of agency partners. Through our existing services and emergency response efforts, Gleaners distributed a grand total of 200,000 pounds of food during the month of March.
With school now officially closed, and the state of emergency extended, we know the need for emergency food will grow tremendously. Our work is only possible through our partners and our supporters. Gleaners is grateful to see our community come together, even when we are apart.