What is Gleaners?
Gleaners has been "nourishing communities by feeding hungry people" since 1977. As one of the oldest food banks in the United States, Gleaners Community Food Bank's mission is to turn surplus food, which otherwise would go to waste, into millions of nutritious meals for hungry people in southeastern Michigan. In 2009, Gleaners distributed more than 30 million pounds of emergency food (equivalent to over 404,000 meals per month) to over 430 partner soup kitchens, shelters and food pantries in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties.
How does Gleaners obtain the food it distributes?
Gleaners gratefully accepts monetary donations to assist in obtaining food for the hungry. Of every dollar donated, Gleaners uses 95 cents for food and food programs. One dollar provides three meals for a hungry neighbor. Since Gleaners is able to purchase food in truckload quantities at low cost, it is cost effective.
Safe and marketable food is also donated to Gleaners by farmers, grocery stores, supermarkets, food distributors, and food manufacturers. A portion of donations is from canned food drives organized by community organizations, corporations and individuals. The Food Bank Council of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture also operate programs that provide fresh and canned foods to food banks.
Marketable food is made available to food banks like Gleaners for many reasons, including labeling errors, surplus production, or the need to be immediately distributed if it is close to its sales date. Some donated food does not meet corporate testing, such as several thousand boxes of a popular breakfast cereal rejected by the manufacturer because they contained more than the allowed amount of raisins!
The Variety Produce Rescue Program with the Detroit Produce Terminal encourages produce wholesalers to donate surplus fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2008, the program collected and distributed over 800,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.
How does Gleaners distribute the food?
Gleaners collects, warehouses, repacks and distributes many millions of pounds of food for over 400 local partners. Our food pantry at St. Priscilla obtains much of its food from Gleaners for distribution in our local community.
How can I assist in feeding the hungry?
Volunteers from St. Priscilla periodically help sort and pack food at the Gleaners warehouse in Taylor. We carpool from the St. Priscilla parking lot, leaving at 8:30 am and returning around noon on specific Saturdays throughout the year (please see the Christian Service Commission events calendar for current dates). To volunteer, please call the parish office at 248-476-4700, to learn more about Gleaners, please visit http://www.gcfb.org. Information contained in this article was obtained from the Gleaners website.
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