This fall, Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan teams up with Weingartz for its 6th Annual Mow Down Hunger campaign. The goal is to raise one million meals for hungry children, and Weingartz will match each and every donation made in order to double the impact on childhood hunger.
According to Gleaners, over 300,000 local children require free or reduced-fee meals during the school year and go without meals over the weekend. Last year, Gleaners and the Mow Down Hunger campaign provided over 1.8 million meals to local children.
“Our goal is to raise a million meals, hopefully we’ll see that again like we did last year,” Anne Schenk, VP of Advancement for Gleaners, said. “It’s a pretty big goal, it’s a lot of meals, but we think we can do it.”
While typically a $1 donation to Gleaners would provide three meals to local children, Weingartz’s match will provide six.
“It’s a great opportunity for people to double the impact,” Schenk said, noting that while the statistics are getting slightly better, hunger is still a major concern in Metro Detroit.
In 2015, approximately 1 in 5 children face food insecurity, according to Schenk. Even if just for a short period of time, children can suffer detrimentally from lack of nutrients that affects both physical and mental development.
The Mow Down Hunger campaign supports multiple Gleaners programs that aim to alleviate hunger, such as School-Based Mobile Pantries, the Backpack program and SmartBites® bags. The Backpack program partners with 48 local Metro Detroit schools to deliver backpacks filled with fruit, vegetables, protein and grains to children in need each Friday. SmartBites® bags are filled with healthy snacks and distributed to hungry students as well.
Children who participate in Gleaners’ Kids Helping Kids® program are responsible for filling the Backpacks and SmartBites® bags. These volunteers also receive nutrition or hunger education in order to raise awareness among children.
“I think the great thing is that we’re making progress on hunger, we’re seeing the numbers turn in the right direction,” Schenk said. “But we still have a long way to go.”