Food drive yields more than 108,000 meals for neighbors in need

September 30, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Michigan Medicine News,

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The COVID-19 pandemic, and its ripple effects, have caused thousands of local residents to worry where their next meal will come from or how they’ll feed their children. That can affect their health — physically, mentally and emotionally.

But some of those worries will be eased, at least temporarily, thanks to the members of the Michigan Medicine community and local residents who stepped up to help neighbors in need of food and other basic supplies over the past four weeks.

All told, the Michigan Medicine team donated the equivalent of 108,070 meals to Food Gatherers through the food drive that began in early September, and officially concluded Sunday. They also provided 1,177 pounds of non-food items including essential personal care items and diapers.

Donors pulled up daily to the North Campus Research Complex drop-off site in their cars, in addition to many who delivered food and supplies collected from local drives at various Michigan Medicine locations. Volunteers across the organization signed up for shifts to help greet donors, unload contributions and store them until Food Gatherers could collect them.

The 8,259 pounds of food given in September will supply 6,883 meals. This donation adds to the previous total of 22,600 pounds — the equivalent of 18,833 meals — given from April through August at the same location during the first food drive of this COVID-19 pandemic. Every 12 pounds of food equals about 10 meals.

Online financial donations were strong all month long. Each dollar allows Food Gatherers to buy three meals at its discount bulk prices. As of Sept. 28, monetary donations totaling $33,729 had come in via the Michigan Medicine effort. That works out to 101,187 meals.

In all, that means the Michigan Medicine effort to support Food Gatherers since the start of the pandemic has brought in more than 126,900 meals’ worth of donations.

“I am continuously humbled by the generosity of our Michigan Medicine team, reaching out to step up and make a positive difference to address food insecurity in our community,” said Tony Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer for the U-M Health System. “Despite facing different challenges of their own at home or work during this pandemic, the active participation to serve others is so impressive to me. Whether it’s donating food, dollars, toiletries or time, I am extremely proud of what we have done for our community, together.”

As the fall and winter holidays approach, and a potential resurgence of COVID-19 cases looms, the drop-off location at Dock 90 of the North Campus Research Complex, at 2800 Plymouth Rd., will continue to have a bin for donations for Food Gatherers. A list of most-needed items is here.

The online giving link at foodgatherers.org/UM will also stay up for the time being.

Michigan Medicine’s Physician Assistants have also chosen Food Gatherers as the recipient of their community action project for PA Week, Oct. 6-12. This includes encouraging PA’s across the organization to give online or in-person.

The PA’s also invite all members of the community to take part in their Pizza House “dine to donate” event on Oct. 8; download and print the flyer for dining in, or mention the fundraiser when ordering by phone or in the comments section of an online order. Fifteen percent of the purchase will be donated to Food Gatherers.

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