How Gleaners uses your donated dollars

- It's the giving season but there are so many options, and you want to know your dollar is doing some good. The folks at Gleaners Community Food Bank know a lot about how to stretch a dollar, and they showed us  what your donations can do.

Volunteers are hard at work every day there. On this particular day, students from Monteith Elementary in Grosse Pointe Woods are packing bags of food for hungry kids. Those who work in schools know the need goes up this time of year.

"We see the children's anxiety go up during the holidays because they're not sure where their meals are coming from. They're not sure if there will be food in their house for that long time that they're in school," says Mary Reilly, a social worker with Van Dyke Public Schools.

That's where Gleaners comes in, to fill that gap. But only a small percentage of the healthy food kids get from Gleaners is donated.

"Gleaners helps almost 200,000 kids a year in so many ways, but only 12 percent is what kids need is donated. The rest we have to purchase. The good news is, we can get it well below retail," says Gleaners President, Gerry Brisson.

We asked Brisson to show us just what that means, getting food below retail. It's pretty impressive what your dollar can do.

"For what you get a bag of apples in the store, Gleaners can get 19 bags of apples," he says. "You might get a jar of peanut butter for the same price Gleaners can get 17 jars of peanut butter. We can get milk at half price; we can get 23 boxes of cereal for what you pay for one."

Ninety-four cents of every dollar given to Gleaners goes directly to feeding hungry people, and even though the economy is improving there are still hundreds of thousands of people in our community who are food insecure -- and many of those are children.

"Children's focus needs to be on playing and learning that is their job, not to worry about where their next meal is coming from," says Reilly.

Tuesday your dollars to Gleaners go farther. It's a Double your Donation Day. To learn more or call 855-315-FOOD or visit  

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