Michigan Medicine partners with Food Gatherers to collect food at drive-up donation site

Food, toiletries now accepted along with protective gear for front-line medical workers

A member of U-M staff goes through donations delivered to its drive-up site on 2800 Plymouth Rd. (Michigan Medicine)

ANN ARBOR – Michigan Medicine has expanded its drive-up donation site collecting much-needed personal protective gear to include food donations.

The health system has partnered with Food Gatherers to help alleviate food insecurity for community members affected financially by closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting Tuesday, the site began accepting non-perishable food and toiletries for those in need. Food Gatherers will be distributing the items to more than 100 local nonprofit partners.

Donations will be accepted on weekdays and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. at Dock 90 of 2800 Plymouth Rd. at U-M’s North Campus Research Complex.

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The site is staffed so that donors who drive up to drop off their donations do not have to get out of their cars.

According to Food Gatherers, the most-needed supplies are:

  • Hearty canned soups such as beef stew and chili, especially low-sodium
  • Canned fish and chicken, low-sodium preferred
  • Canned vegetables, low-sodium or no salt
  • Pasta, canned or dry packaged
  • Rice
  • Cereal and oatmeal
  • Granola bars
  • Nut butters or jelly, plastic jars only
  • Baby food and formula, plastic containers only
  • Liquid nutrition drinks such as Ensure
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Soap and shampoo
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Disposable razors

Other unopened, in-date toiletry and non-perishable food items will be accepted. Glass jars will not be accepted.

“We have been astounded by the generosity of our community, from individuals to major companies, as they helped us overcome supply-chain disruptions for the gear our front-line staff need most,” senior vice president and chief operating officer of U-M Health System-Michigan Medicine Tony Denton said in a statement.

“Access to healthy food is a key social determinant of health, and food insecurity was already a major challenge for many within our community even before the coronavirus pandemic arrived. We are pleased to partner with Food Gatherers to make a health difference through this drive to collect food and other items that our community needs most in this time of economic disruption.”

The health system and the food rescue organization already partner on the Meals on Wheels programs for the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti communities.

“We could not be more grateful for Michigan Medicine’s food drive,” Food Gatherers CEO Eileen Spring said in a statement. “We are open and serving the community, but the current social distancing and shelter-at-home orders have significantly disrupted our usual food rescue and food drive supply chains. This special effort of our medical community, while they are also working to fight COVID-19, is truly appreciated.”

Have protected gear that you want to donate?

Michigan Medicine is accepting new or unused of the following:

  • Disposable face masks
  • N95 masks, sometimes called respirators
  • Eye protection including face shields and safety goggles
  • 3-D printing note: Details about officially sanctioned 3-D printing specificatons for face shields will be shared soon
  • Disposable gowns
  • Disposable gloves, especially non-latex
  • Disposable surgical caps
  • Disposable foot covers
  • Wipes: bleach or antimicrobial
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Nasal swabs with nylon shafts
  • Powered air-purifying respirators and PAPR hoods
  • Viral or universal transport medium

Containers of protective gear that have been opened are accepted.

Michigan Medicine is currently deciding whether to accept donations homemade masks. It encourages those making masks to donate at this time to other organizations that are requesting them.

According to Michigan Medicine, in its first week the donation drive collected:

  • Over 5,500 boxes of gloves, totaling hundreds of thousands of gloves
  • 115,000 procedure masks
  • Over 10,000 N95 masks
  • Over 3,000 face shields
  • Over 500 bottles/refills of hand sanitizer and more

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.