Spring into action to address food insecurity in our community

March 25, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources,

Two years ago this month, the U-M and local communities stepped up to help neighbors in need in the first weeks of the pandemic, by giving healthy food and essential supplies through a Michigan Medicine donation drive for Food Gatherers. Three more drives followed as need continued during the pandemic.

Now, a new food and toiletry drive will build on the 281,000 meals’ worth of donations that those drives have brought in. Starting Saturday, March 26 and continuing through April 10, Michigan Medicine will host an in-person and online drive to help Food Gatherers meet the needs of 170 community partner organizations across Washtenaw County.

Food insecurity in the area is still 7% higher than before the pandemic. Recent inflation makes it even harder for lower-income community members to afford the food and toiletries that can keep families healthy, and keep students’ learning progress on track.

“Food insecurity can affect the physical and mental health of children and adults, and is one of the key factors known as social determinants of health,” said Tony Denton, senior vice president and chief operating officer for U-M Health. “This drive is part of our ongoing commitment to meaningful presence, connecting with our communities to maintain and improve health. Addressing this inequity is very important to our Michigan Medicine values of caring and inclusion. Once again, we invite the entire U-M and local community to be all in.”

Donors can drop non-perishable food and toiletries, including diapers, at Dock 90 of U-M’s North Campus Research Complex, at 2800 Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor, just off Huron Parkway. 

Donations can be left between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. every day of the week during the drive. Volunteers from across Michigan Medicine will be available to help unload donations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A list of most-needed items is available at right. You can click to download the list and print it to post in your area.

Donors can also give money online at www.foodgatherers.org/um for Food Gatherers to use in purchasing food at wholesale prices.

“The high rate of inflation and continued supply chain disruptions have significantly impacted both the cost of groceries and the overall cost of living in the region,” Denton said. “The recent sharp rise in gas prices is also affecting household budgets most dramatically for those with limited incomes.”

Food Gatherers distributed 9 million pounds of food — the equivalent of 7.5 million meals — to more than 64,000 children, adults, seniors and veterans in the community during Fiscal Year 2021. That includes some of the food delivered to the clients of Meals on Wheels, based in Michigan Medicine’s Community Health Services.