Our Best Chance to Mow Down Hunger

Across Gleaners’ five-county service area more than 300,000 children are food insecure, which means they are growing up in homes that don’t always have access to enough food for proper health and an active life. Schoolwork, play and socialization can all be impacted when kids go hungry.

But thanks to Weingartz and its annual Mow Down Hunger campaign,Gleaners Community Food Bank is working to reach those children, making sure their families have enough nutritional food for everyone in the household. 

Dan Weingartz, president, says that as fall approaches, employees, customers and the community at large begin to ask about the campaign: “When we first began this collaboration, we didn’t expect all of the outpouring of support, but after 10 years, everyone has rallied around this program, and we’ve become very proud of it. It’s important to make sure kids in the community are cared for, and healthy food is a major part of that process.”

Now, you can be a part of this work and make your donation have twice the impact on childhood hunger.

Thanks to Weingartz and its Mow Down Hunger campaign, donations to Gleaners through October 8, 2019, will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Weingartz, a Michigan-based and family-owned provider of outdoor power equipment.

The Mow Down Hunger goal is to raise funds to provide 1 million meals to area families.

Children make up approximately 40% of the total people fed through Gleaners network of more than 520 partner agencies in southeast Michigan. But that’s not the only way Gleaners reaches children. Other programs provide nutritious food to children directly:

The School Food Mobile Pantry Program serves more than 300 schools and Head Starts through 83 distribution sites. These schools, located throughout the region, lack convenient emergency food access points. Year-round monthly distributions of 30 pounds of food per family provide the equivalent of 2.7 million meals during the year.

When Weingartz began supporting Gleaners through Mow Down Hunger, the School Food Mobile Pantry Program did not even exist. Now, it has become one of the most efficient, effective ways to reach more than 14,600 children annually with a regular supply of healthy food.

BackPack Program works with more than 70 participating schools. Children, who during the week rely on free school breakfast and lunch for sustenance, are given food to take home over the weekend, with each “pack” providing the equivalent of five healthy meals. Nearly 60,000 BackPacks have been distributed so far this year.

Just 23 schools participated in BackBack when Mow Down Hunger began in 2009. This program drew early interest from the Weingartz family, who wanted to see it maintained and expanded. BackPack is still a high-demand program, with 32 schools on the waiting list.

Additionally, Gleaners runs two other vital feeding programs that are supported by public dollars:

The Summer Food Service Program provides lunches for low-income children during the non-school months when many children are without access to nutritious choices. Gleaners serves more than 132,000 meals to more than 3,000 children at sites throughout the community.

After school suppers are provided by Gleaners to more than 1,300 children through the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program. More than 1,300 children receive healthy meals through this initiative.

Gleaners not only puts food on the table, but it’s nutritious food. In fact, produce alone accounts for 43 percent of the food distributed by Gleaners. 

Gleaners is persistent in its efforts to address child hunger through its direct feeding programs, like school mobiles and BackPack, and through its traditional network of agency partners that include brick-and-mortar pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.

Your last day to make a dollar-for-dollar match is October 8. Click here to donate now to Mow Down Hunger and help local children get the food they need to grow up healthy and strong.

*number of children who quality for the free or reduced-price school meals