The holiday season is a time of joy, and if one's lucky, of plenty.
Sadly, hunger continues to be a problem, with one in four Michigan children living in poverty and nearly half qualifying for free or low-cost school lunches.
To help, Patch.com has launched an online food drive, with all of its 30 Michigan sites participating. Patch is partnering with Gleaners Community Food Bank in this virtual food drive, and the goal is to raise $10,000 by Saturday to help feed local families.
Shop Gleaners' virtual grocery shelves. Click to get started!
Follow progress of Patch's fight against hunger. Click to watch donations grow!
- Forty percent of the people Gleaners helps are under the age of 18, and it provides 45 million pounds of food every year to Michigan's hungry through a partnership of hundreds of food pantries, schools, soup kitchens, shelters and nonprofit agencies. While 45 million pounds is a massive number, it's still not enough.
- Oakland County saw double-digit increases in children qualifying for free and discounted school lunch programs, according to Gleaners
- More than 317,000 are in need of a warm, nutritious meal in school.
How You Can Help
That being said, you can help—or get help—in any number of ways in the Bloomfield area.
- To find the nearest emergency food provider, visit www.pantrynet.org or call United Way’s 2-1-1 line, which Natalie Fotias, marketing manager for Gleaners, says can connect people with other basic needs, too. Local Food pantries include God's Helping Hands in Rochester and the Salvation Army in Pontiac.
- Volunteers are also welcome at Gleaners. People can pack food boxes, teach cooking classes, tend gardens and more.
- Help out at Meals On Wheels. Find a location here: Local programs include Pontiac Meals On Wheels (248-738-9393) and We Care Senior Meals Program (248-738-9088).
- You can host a Gleaners food drives, too. Learn more at www.gcfb.org. Their Give a Hand for the Holidays program invites people to hold a food drive or raise funds for Gleaners by Dec. 31.
- Dec. 17 is Double Your Donation Day, where any donations made that day will be matched. Visit www.gcfb.org/donate to learn more.
- Kroger is starting 2013 with a plan to help Gleaners. Every Saturday in January, Kroger stores across metro Detroit will collect food and money to help familes in need. The Gleaners website will post participating locations beginning in December.
And, of course, one can always donate. Gleaners can turn $1 into three meals.