Rotary Club, Food Gatherers campaign to fight summer hunger kicks off on Monday

A staff member and a volunteer pose with Food Gatherers' mobile food distribution van. (Food Gatherers)

ANN ARBOR – The annual Rotary Fights Summer Hunger Spring Food Drive benefitting Food Gatherers will start on March 1 and run throughout the month.

The partnership between Washtenaw County’s food bank and the Rotary Clubs of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor North and Ypsilanti is a yearly effort to alleviate hunger in the community during the summer months.

As part of the drive, local businesses and organizations are invited to collect funds and non-perishable food items from patrons.

The Rotary clubs aim to collect enough food and funds to provide Washtenaw County children and families with 150,000 meals.

Matching of donations $25 or greater and up to $10,000 will be provided by the Harold and Kay Peplau Family Fund. On the ground, that means a $25 gift will be doubled to provide 150 meals for local families experiencing food insecurity.

Child hunger and food insecurity have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic that has closed schools and caused the unemployment rate to rise.

“Feeding America estimates that overall food insecurity in Washtenaw County has risen by 37%, while child food insecurity has risen by 101%,” reads a news release.

Since March 2020, Food Gatherers has been working with local school districts to help provide robust food options including groceries and fresh produce through meal distribution programs and to help deliver food to families who are unable to access school meal programs.

Using the food and funds raised from the drive, Food Gatherers will supply its network of 170 partner organizations, including meal programs, food pantries and other emergency grocery services.

Throughout summer break, Food Gatherers -- in coordination with its partners -- sponsors more than 25 Summer Food Service Program sites to provide meals to local students.

How to get involved:

  • Make a donation online at foodgatherers.org/rotary or drop off or mail checks to Food Gatherers at 1 Carrot Way, Ann Arbor, MI, 48105.
  • Drop off food donations at the Food Gatherers Warehouse (same address as above) from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. Donors are asked to mention which goods are meant for the Rotary Drive.

The most-needed items include:

  • Beans (canned or dried)
  • Canned meats (tuna, chicken, etc.)
  • Peanut butter
  • Low/no-sodium hearty soups (beef stew, chili, etc.)
  • Canned fruit
  • Baby food and formula
  • Ensure or other supplemental nutrition drinks

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