Focus: Hope in need of volunteers as nonprofit combats food insecurity in metro Detroit

Rachel Sherman says food security exists in Michigan in a way many would never know about. It exists at a level in metro Detroit that would shock people and frequently plagues older citizens.

Sherman works at Focus: Hope in Detroit. The nonprofit packages around 42,000 boxes of food for seniors across Oakland, Wayne, Macomb, and Washtenaw counties - and all of it is done with the help of volunteers.

"We depend on our volunteers 100% to deliver to those 1,500 homebound seniors. Volunteers come, they use their own cars and their own gas to make deliveries," said Sherman.

One of those volunteers is Jason Kalis, who helped over the holidays in December. The experience was a rewarding one, so he decided to return in the new year, bringing family members with him.

"It kinda of humbles you to understand what people are going through, and we’ve been blessed to say the least," he said.

During the first week of January, he helped pack non-perishable food items like beans and cereal into boxes. Those boxes are then placed in vans which move throughout the region, hitting thousands of homes a month.

It only takes a few volunteers to make a big difference. And according to Kalis, "if you’re good you can pack a thousand boxes and that goes out to a thousand senior citizens."

Focus: Hope operates out of Detroit and services the greater Southeast Michigan region. It was the brainchild of civil rights leaders from 1968 and works to make an impact for all community members that are struggling.

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The packaging happens with a manual assembly line with food on either side, Sherman said. Volunteers are trained on how exactly to pack the box and we pump out hundreds of boxes a shift.

The mission to fight hunger is ongoing, but more are needed at Focus: Hope. 

Volunteers typically work throughout the week. There is already help on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

"We’re really looking for some volunteers specifically for this Friday, on Jan. 5th from 9 to 12. We're very in need for Tuesday and Wednesday the 9th and 10th from 9 to 12." 

Learn more here.


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