Local businesses need help feeding the hungry

“This is a problem that’s near you, even if you don’t see it.”

Hunger – food insecurity – is a real issue in southeast Michigan. More than 300,000 children in the state receive free or reduced lunches. Think about what that means for families when those kids are home from school on vacation. 

“Even if you just have two kids at home – that’s 4, 5, 6 meals a day that you’re not getting that you need somehow,” said Gerry Brisson, President of Gleaners Food Community Bank.

That’s where Gleaners and its community partners come in – filling that need for so many. They serve an estimated 700,000 food insecure people in five counties.

“The need is a lot more than we think it is. It’s easy to just imagine in your life that everything is going well, that everybody else’s must be as well. That’s not really the case, so it’s nice to be able to help out where we can.”

That’s Scott Wiesler from Anytime Fitness on Cherry Hill in Canton where their holiday food drive has begun. They’re not just losing pounds or lifting pounds – they’re goal is to collect pounds – hundreds of pounds of food by Thanksgiving. They’re even offering an incentive. 

“We’re trying to raise 300lbs of food.”

“Non-members can come in. If they bring us a food donation, we’ll let them workout for free for the day if they bring in 5lbs or more. We’ll give them a great deal on a membership as well,” said Wiesler. 

So what should you drop in those donation boxes? Canned goods – plenty of those along with cereal, pastas, and proteins. 

“Anything convenient. Soup is great, canned meat is wonderful – tuna fish of the canned chicken of the pouches. You know, we never get enough protein so those things are really, really super,” said Brisson.

So when you see those Gleaners boxes at Anytime Fitness in Canton of Ypsilanti – or at any other business around town – don’t hesitate to make a donation. You’re really making a difference. 

“Providing this food now isn’t just a Band-Aid,” said Brisson. “It really is part of a longer term solution for success for families. We see it, we know it. I would just say, have hope. This really does make a difference.”

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