Suburban Collection Teams with Gleaners for Virtual Food Drive

Originally posted on C&G News

TROY — The Suburban Collection, a series of car dealerships and lots based in Troy, has teamed up with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan to raise funds to help those in danger of going hungry.

They are doing this through a virtual food drive, which is collecting money so that Gleaners can purchase food, including healthy and fresh food, for those in need.

“The Suburban Collection has been a donor and collaborative partner in the past,” explained Stacy Averil, the vice president of community giving and public relations at Gleaners. “In the last year, we wanted to provide more support for the community through their connections and partners. We are in the second year of this virtual food drive. When we were thinking of the needs in the community, Suburban’s strengths and connection to the community meant we are able to take advantage of those benefits to help address food insecurity in southeast Michigan.”

A virtual food drive is an interactive online tool. Donors make a monetary donation on Suburban Collection’s website. People can go to the website and browse food items that are then put out into the community monthly, as well as see how big of an impact their donation makes. The drive will end on Giving Tuesday, which is Tuesday, Nov. 30.

“Our owner, David Fischer, was very active in charitable initiatives, so about 10 years ago we sat down and wanted to know how we could be more impactful,” said Suburban Collection Manager Ron MacEachern. “We wanted to decide what to do to make the most impact. We asked around and found four common threads among our team members. One was cancer, because everyone knows someone who died from cancer; blood drives, because there were record low levels at the time; supporting teachers, and we started supporting a teacher of the year; and the last was our human needs initiative. This was to help with whatever was needed at the time.”

With people staying home under lockdown during COVID-19 or losing their jobs due to the pandemic, the Suburban Collection staff saw that food scarcity was becoming an even larger issue than before.

“We saw people being out of work and not even having money for food, and when we saw how impactful collecting food or raising money for food could (be), we all got behind it,” MacEachern said. “We even got some secret donors last year who matched our donations. People really stepped up during these crazy times. Sometimes you don’t know where your money is going or what you’re actually accomplishing, but this is helping people right in our backyard. We have seen how much this is helping people.”

The 34 dealerships of the Suburban Collection are each hosting their own events and engaged in some friendly competition to try to raise money for those in need.

“They have engaged all of their dealerships in helping to raise funds for us. It’s a fun, competitive drive where each dealership is trying to hit their goal. They are coordinating promotion for the collection. We host the virtual food drive on our website,” Averil said. “Each dealership has their own page and goal that they’re working toward as a part of the overall Suburban Collection goal.”

More information, donation methods and store locations are available at

“The impact we were able to make last year through this drive last year was huge,” Averil remarked. “It was almost a million meals. When you have a collaborative partner who takes things to heart and wants to know everything they can do to help by getting the word out and helping engage their community, (it) makes a huge difference.”

Several of the dealerships will be hosting in-person events to raise additional funds and to raise awareness of the issue.

“Several of our 34 dealerships spread out through metro Detroit are doing events such as golf outings and bake sales,” said MacEachern. “Some are doing additional services at the dealership to raise money. There’s a wide variety of means in which we are getting the word out and raising money.”

Angela Wilhelm, the community engagement and philanthropy specialist for the Suburban Collection, said this initiative is more important than ever before.

“The issue of food insecurity has grown due to the pandemic,” she said. “It’s estimated that one out of every five children are at risk of going hungry in our community, and that is completely unacceptable.”

She added that addressing this issue and working with Gleaners was the most efficient way to turn donation dollars into real-world assistance for those in need.

“The big thing to me is that donating $5 to Gleaners translates to 15 meals for people who otherwise would go hungry,” Wilhelm said. “Gleaners has five distribution centers in southeast Michigan. They use their bulk purchasing power to help the most people possible, which is why we wanted to work with them. It’s helping the most people possible.”

“Food insecurity is right in everyone’s backyard. In every community there’s families who are struggling with hunger,” Averil added. “We can’t overstate how important this issue is.”