Michigan Medicine kicks off month-long food drive with Food Gatherers

Food, toiletries can be dropped off at U-M’s North Campus Research Complex

Volunteers wait to accept donations for Michigan Medicine and Food Gatherer's food drive in December 2020. (Michigan Medicine)

ANN ARBOR – Michigan Medicine is partnering with Food Gatherers for the second year to collect food and toiletries as the pandemic drives up local need.

The supply drive will run through Sept. 26 and those making donations can drop them off at the North Campus Research Complex or donate online. The drop off point is at Dock 90 at 2800 Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor.

Donations will be accepted on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- except for Labor Day weekend.

Michigan Medicine volunteers will be on sit to help unload donations on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on weekends from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This is the fourth drive for Michigan Medicine and Food Gatherers since March 2020. Until now, the effort had collected the equivalent of more than 242,000 meals in donations. This included more than 49,200 pounds of food in addition to nearly 3,300 pounds of toiletries.

“Access to a consistent source of healthy food is essential to each child’s ability to learn, and to the overall health of families and community,” senior vice president and chief operating officer for University of Michigan Health, Tony Denton, said in a release.

“The prolonged pandemic has revealed significant food insecurity and other gaps in basic needs, leading to record-high demands for food, diapers and other basic supplies. Those of us with the capacity to give are asked to help meet these needs, supporting learning, growth, health and wellness.”

Food Gatherers has broken its own food distribution records during the pandemic to meet surging demand, some from community members who have never sought food assistance before.

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, Food Gatherers announced it distributed more than 9 million pounds of food, up 14.5% from 2020. The food bank serves 170 local partner organizations, who have reported a continued rise in demand for supplies.

“Food supply is a known social determinant of health, and our clinicians know how much it can affect a patient’s overall outcomes,” president of University of Michigan Health, David Miller, said in a release. “We who are fortunate enough to have weathered this pandemic must do what we can to support those who are still struggling.”

Here’s more information about the drive, from a Michigan Medicine release:

  • Cash donations give Food Gatherers the most flexibility, including buying in bulk at reduced prices. Every dollar donated can buy three meals thanks to the organization’s purchasing strategy.
  • Donors should not bring cash or gift cards to the drive-up location.
  • For the drop-off donation site, donors are asked to avoid giving items that are perishable (fresh or frozen), expired, already opened or packed in glass.
  • Gardeners with extra produce to give, and those with perishable items to donate, may bring them to the Food Gatherers headquarters at 1 Carrot Way, Ann Arbor. More information is available here.
  • PPE for Michigan Medicine is not needed at this time.

Below are the drive’s most-needed items. Foods made from whole grains and low or no sodium canned food are preferred.

  • Hearty soups (beef stew, chili, etc.)
  • Canned meats (tuna fish, chicken, etc.)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Packaged pasta & rice
  • Whole grain cereal & oatmeal
  • Baking & cooking supplies (flour, sugar, oil, etc.)
  • Condiments
  • Nut butters or jelly
  • Kid-friendly snacks (granola bars, goldfish, etc.)
  • Baby food & formula
  • Ensure & other nutritional supplement drinks
  • Baby items (diapers, wipes, etc.)
  • Soap & shampoo
  • Toothpaste & toothbrushes
  • Disposable razors

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.