Hunger Free Summer

About Hunger Free Summer

For many kids, when school lets out, hunger sets in. In southeast Michigan alone, more than 300,000 children receive free or reduced-fee meals. When the school year ends, so do the breakfasts and lunches they rely on.

Facing several months without enough to eat robs them of a carefree, happy summer and places them at a disadvantage when school starts again in the fall.

That’s why Gleaners Community Food Bank established the Hunger Free Summer campaign in 2011. Hunger Free Summer supports Gleaners’ programs providing nutritious food to thousands of hungry children throughout southeast Michigan.

Citizens Bank and other generous donors– including the Toni Wisne Sabina Foundation, General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Andiamo, among others – match donations dollar-for-dollar when school lets out in June until school is back in session in September.

Because of the Hunger Free Summer match, every dollar you donate provides 6 meals for hungry kids.

How Gleaners Gets Food to Kids

By expanding programming throughout the summer and raising additional meals through the Hunger Free Summer Campaign, Gleaners helps kids get the nutrition they need when they don’t have access to the breakfasts and lunches they would normally get at school.

Through the Summer Food Service Program thousands of children will have access to nutritious meals provided through more than 90 summer meal sites this year five days per week. In an increase from 2018, 68% of the summer meal sites will serve breakfast in addition to lunch! Some will also serve meals on Saturdays. Ten summer meal sites throughout Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties also will receive Weekend Backpacks.

Over the summer Gleaners’ School Food Mobile program will reach hungry children in high-need communities through nearly 90 monthly mobile pantries. Each distribution provides approximately 100 households with 30 pounds of nutritious food, protein and fresh produce.

Additionally, through Gleaners’ extensive network of 528 partner soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters, the Hunger Free Summer campaign helps children and families bridge the gap during the summer. And Gleaners recently launched its Best Food Forward initiative, taking a holistic approach to resolving food insecurity for the whole family, in addition to looking at ways to improve the way kids eat and learn.

Child Hunger in Michigan

  • In southeast Michigan alone, more than 185,000 children are food insecure, with more than 146,000 food insecure children living within Gleaners’ service area.
  • From 2016 to 2017 the number of kids relying on school-provided meals increased in the five counties Gleaners serves and has held steady since. The percentage of children in each county ranges from 22% to as high as nearly 65% per county in 2018.
  • 16% of children (341,000) in Michigan live in households that were food insecure at some point during the year.
  • More than 300,000 school-aged children in southeast Michigan are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch. Students from families with incomes below 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free or reduced prices in the federal School Lunch Program.
  • One in five Michigan children live in poverty, with household incomes under $24,858 for a family of four. Nearly half (48%) of Detroit's children live in poverty.

Source: Kids Count Michigan

Child Hunger in America

  • 6 of 7 hungry kids in America do not get the summer meals they need. (
  • 1 in 6 kids in America live in households without consistent access to enough food. (
  • During the school year, 22 million kids rely on theNational School Lunch Program for free and reduced-price meals. And when school lets out, all those daily meals go away. (org)
  • Nationally, 20 million children rely on SNAP benefits. (

The Devastating Developmental Impacts of Child Hunger

According to Feeding America, children who face hunger are more likely to:

  • Repeat a grade in elementary school.
  • Experience developmental impairments like language and motor skills.
  • Have more social and behavioral problems.

Kids struggling with summer hunger return to school in the fall lagging behind their peers. Summer learning loss that happens during children’s elementary school years can negatively impact their future. Research shows:

  • A study by Johns Hopkins University revealed that summer learning loss during elementary school accounts for two-thirds of the achievement gap in reading between low-income children and their middle-income peers by 9th
  • On average, low income children start kindergarten 12-14 months behind their peers.
  • Low-income students experience negative gains in math and reading, sometimes losing 2-3 months of learning, during summer months.
  • Summer slide can cause low income children to fall as much as 3 whole grade levels behind their peers by the end of 5th grade if they are not engaged in summer learning opportunities.

Other partners in our work:

Feeding America

As the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity, Feeding America network members supply food to more than 46 million Americans each year, through a network of more than 200 member food banks.

Food Bank Council of Michigan

The Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM) is a statewide organization that gathers food and funds to help stock Michigan's food banks.

You can help provide 2 million meals for children while school is out!

Your support will leverage community donations by matching gifts and allowing Gleaners to reach thousands of children who would otherwise face hunger.

For more information on becoming a Hunger Free Summer sponsor, contact Stacy Averill at 866-GLEANER or

Underwriting Partner and Match Donor:

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $161.3 billion in assets as of March 31, 2019. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, Citizens offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Citizens helps its customers reach their potential by listening to them and by understanding their needs in order to offer tailored advice, ideas and solutions. In Consumer Banking, Citizens provides an integrated experience that includes mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 2,900 ATMs and approximately 1,100 branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Consumer Banking products and services include a full range of banking, lending, savings, wealth management and small business offerings. In Commercial Banking, Citizens offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services, including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest rate products, and asset finance. More information is available at or visit us on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

Match Donor Supporters:

Logo for the Toni Wisne Sabina Foundation

Toni Wisne Sabina Foundation In honor of Toni Wisne Sabina ’s long-time support for Gleaners’ mission to feed our hungry neighbors.


General Motors is working toward a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion. Social investments in our communities are a big part of realizing this vision. As such, GM has invested over $1 billion to help foster smart, safe and sustainable communities around the world. But financial support is just one way we give – our employees double our impact with their time and talents. We create impact by engaging with strong partners like Gleaners Community Food Bank to help empower communities.

Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community and global partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 65 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Company. Ford Driving Skills for Life is free, interactive, hands-on safety training focused on skill development and driving techniques, while addressing inexperience, distractions and impaired driving.  Innovation in education is encouraged through Ford Blue Oval Scholars, Ford Driving Dreams, Ford Next Generation Learning and other innovative programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. The Ford Volunteer Corps enlists more than 30,000 Ford employees and retirees each year to work on local projects that strengthen their communities and improve people’s lives in more than 40 countries around the world. For more information, visit .

In 1989 when Andiamo opened its first Italian restaurant, the goal was simple – deliver fine Italian cuisine by using the freshest seasonal ingredients and prepare them from scratch each and every day. This goal set by the late Master Chef Aldo Ottaviani was achieved and as a result Andiamo exceeded all expectations, expanding to nine metro Detroit locations. Andiamo has never strayed from its founding principles and continues to provide exceptional service and authentic Italian cuisine prepared by hand every day. Visit for more information and to find a location near you.

GalaxE.Solutions, Inc. specializes in platform-driven enterprise transformation. With more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare, retail, and financial industries we specialize in complex, large scale precision work with a fully integrated automation platform that delivers predictable results and targeted goals. Based in Somerset, New Jersey, GalaxE has additional offices and delivery centers in: Detroit, New York, Toronto, Canada, United Kingdom, Bangalore and Hyderabad, India as well as Belgium, Brazil, China, Ireland, Japan and Singapore. For more information about GalaxE.Solutions and today’s industry leading eTaaP™ visit or call +1-732-868-0400.

Grand Traverse Pie Company’s vision is to spread their love for pie throughout everything that they make and do. They call it “Warming Hearts and Community through Pie”. They are committed to quality products, warm and friendly service, and to truly making a positive difference in your day. They believe that respect leads to loyalty, loyalty promotes growth, growth allows them to give back to people, and giving back gains respect. It’s a delicious cycle. They proudly serve the best handmade pies from scratch every day, and can be found at fifteen different locations throughout Michigan and one in Indiana.


Additional Support:

The United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) is the umbrella organization for the Dairy Council of Michigan and the American Dairy Association of Michigan. Our dairy farm families proudly produce milk in their communities using state-of-the-art practices to ensure it is wholesome and fresh. We are committed to raising awareness of the benefits of consuming dairy products among generations of Michigan residents. We accomplish this by working with health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and the media.

Donate Now

Click Donate Now to donate securely online

Donate Now

Call 855-315-FOOD to donate by phone.

Mail your gift to 2131 Beaufait, Detroit, MI 48207
(Please include “Hunger Free Summer” on the memo line.)

Join the Food Fight

By participating in the Hunger Free Summer Food Fight, you can help kids enjoy a #HappyNotHungry summer. The Food Fight is an annual food and fund collection in which organizations throughout the tri-county area compete against teams within their division to raise the most meals. Learn more by clicking the Join the Food Fight button.

Join the Food Fight

Help Fundraise

You can create your own fundraiser on Facebook to get friends and family involved in Hunger Free Summer. Get started by clicking the Help Fundraise button.

Help Fundraise

July 1: MISD summer lunch program reaching more children than ever (Macomb Daily)

Tanya Nofs knows what it's like to be a hungry child. And it's her experience growing up that has fueled her ambitions to expand L'Anse Creuse Public Schools' Mobile Summer Food program.

“The more children we can reach the better,” said Nofs, supervisor for food and nutrition in the district, while watching two little girls sitting on a blanket enjoying their lunch in the shade at Lake St. Clair Metropark.

Read the full story here.

July 1: How many students in your Livingston County public school district need lunch for free or at a reduced cost? (Livingston Daily)

DETROIT - In Livingston County, 21% of public school children qualify for free or reduced-price lunch programs.
This means that when the county's 26,597 public school-enrolled children leave school for the summer, 5,672 of them could go without breakfast and lunch in the summer months.

Read the full story here.

Download a .PDF.

June 25: These Local Organizations are Working to End Summer Hunger! (RedBook)

DETROIT - Named Feeding America’s 2019 Food Bank of the Year, Detroit's Gleaners Community Food Bankserves the children of southeast Michigan free breakfast and/or lunch at nearly 90 neighborhood distribution sites across five counties. By the time the summer is through, Gleaner's will have provided over 4.5 million meals to children and their families.

Read the full story here.

Download the .PDF.

June 30: Gleaners Community Food Bank to provide 4.5 million meals to children across Metro Detroit (AP)

DETROIT - Gleaners Community Food Bank expects to provide at least 4.5 million meals this summer for children across southeastern Michigan.

Chief Executive Gerry Brisson says breakfast or lunch will be served at about 90 sites as part of the Hunger Free Summer campaign which runs through Sept. 2.

Citizens Bank, the Toni Wisne Sabina Foundation, General Motors, Ford and other sponsors will match all donations, dollar-for-dollar, made to Gleaners.

Read the full story here.

June 30: Donations Help Food Bank Provide Summer Meals for Children (U.S. News & World Report)

DETROIT - GLEANERS Community Food Bank expects to provide at least 4.5 million meals this summer for children across southeastern Michigan.

Chief Executive Gerry Brisson says breakfast or lunch will be served at about 90 sites as part of the Hunger Free Summer campaign which runs through Sept. 2. 
Citizens Bank, the Toni Wisne Sabina Foundation, General Motors, Ford and other sponsors will match all donations , dollar-for-dollar, made to Gleaners. Each donated dollar provides six lunches or breakfasts. 

Read the full story here.

Download a .PDF.

July 1: Gleaners Food Bank Launches Hunger Free Summer Campaign (Oakland Press)

DETROIT - Gleaners Community Food Bank launched its ninth annual Hunger Free Summer campaign at the end of June.
Gerry Brisson, president and CEO of Gleaners, said, "We know that, without access to breakfast and lunch at school, many kids in our community will spend the summer wondering where their next meal will come from. We cannot let that happen. That’s why our summer programs and Hunger Free Summer campaign are so critical."

Read the full story here.

Download a .PDF.

Fox 2 News Hunger Free Summer
June 25: Hunger Free Summer Launches! (WWJ)
July 11: Gleaners Food Bank Launches Hunger Free Summer Campaign (Oakland Press)
July 15: Gleaners Community Food Bank launches Hunger Free Summer (Corp!)

Gleaners Community Food Bank was joined by Citizens Bank volunteers for the launch of its Hunger Free Summer campaign at Tindal Activity Center in Detroit. Gleaners will provide kids more than 4.5 million meals this summer while school is out.

View the entire article by click here. 

July 31: How you can help kids have a happy, healthy summer (WDIV)

Summer barbecues and picnics are not the norms for all children. Many children get their food from school breakfast and lunch programs but don't get enough to eat during the summer.  Stacy Averill from Gleaners Hunger Free Summer campaign joined host Jason Carr to talk about how to help.

Watch the Video Here.