Last October, the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation awarded Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan a $475,000 grant, dollars that have been put to work distributing fresh produce to communities in need across Southeast Michigan.
“Year after year, the continued support of the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation has enabled us to empower our most vulnerable neighbors with the healthy food they need to thrive,” said Gerry Brisson, president and CEO of Gleaners. “This generous grant, which is nearly twice as large as their previous gift, speaks volumes about Gleaners’ trusted ability to solve the complexities of hunger in our community, and the need for food resources as households grapple with the effects of inflation.”
The grant provides broad support for produce distribution, including “fresh food drops,” where Gleaners delivers pallets of fresh fruits and vegetables to organizations within its 400-partner strong network of schools, soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and more. Some of the fresh food is also being distributed at Gleaners’ drive-up community mobile food distributions, which are free and open to the public.
Unlike buying food at the store for retail rates, food banks have substantial purchasing power, which means Gleaners can acquire higher volumes of quality, nutritious foods for pennies on the dollar – and disperse it efficiently to the areas of highest need. As inflation and the end of many COVID-era programs impact neighbors and nonprofits alike, strategic food sourcing and distribution remains a top priority.
The Foundation has a long history of giving to Gleaners, including a 2021 grant to support the purchase and distribution of healthy food at the client-choice Mercado Food Hub Pantry in Southwest Detroit, among other sites. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation also expanded support to Gleaners, funding additional warehouse space and food boxes for veterans in need.
The Foundation’s support helps Gleaners remain committed to distributing fresh milk and produce – which are among the most highly-requested items – to neighbors in need throughout the community. At Gleaners’ community mobile food distributions, many guests cite high prices at the grocery store as a primary reason for their visit. Lisa, a mother who attends a distribution in Warren, relies on Gleaners as a main source of fresh, healthy food for her household.
“It’s getting to a point where inflation is unreasonable. We’ve been buying less meat, and more food that isn’t always good for you. It’s cheaper to eat unhealthy, unfortunately, and I have two kids who are obsessed with raspberries right now, which are $4 a container,” Lisa said. “I have appreciated the fruit from Gleaners. Last week, we got clementines, so that was a nice little bonus, and the potatoes are helpful. As a vegetarian, I like the fact there’s rice and beans because that works for me! And the milk definitely makes a difference too because that went up significantly this year in the grocery store.”
For more information about Gleaners’ food distributions and partner agencies, please visit www.pantrynet.org.
About the Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation:
The Vera and Joseph Dresner Foundation is dedicated to transforming lives in profoundly positive ways through grants focused on health, youth and family, and animal welfare. The Foundation believes in working with organizations in its focus areas to create opportunity, have community impact, and promote wellbeing. For more information, visit www.dresnerfoundation.org.
About Gleaners Community Food Bank:
Headquartered in Detroit, Gleaners serves five Southeast Michigan counties: Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston, and Monroe. Gleaners provides food to more than 400 partner agencies, including schools, soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and others across the region, and supplements the efforts of those partners by offering direct service drive-up grocery distributions. Every dollar donated provides three meals, and 92 cents of every donated dollar goes to food and food programs. For more information, visit gcfb.org.