Tameka Junior, left, and her nephew Steven Jennings, 15, of Detroit, carry away food boxes distributed by Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan while talking with Shaquanna Bullock, of Detroit, during the Gleaners 2018 Hunger Free Summer campaign kickoff event at the Emerald Springs Townhomes in Detroit June 16.

Tameka Junior, left, and her nephew Steven Jennings, 15, of Detroit, carry away food boxes distributed by Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan while talking with Shaquanna Bullock, of Detroit, during the Gleaners 2018 Hunger Free Summer campaign kickoff event at the Emerald Springs Townhomes in Detroit June 16.

Photo by Sean Work


Gleaners kicks off Hunger Free Summer campaign

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published June 25, 2018

METRO DETROIT — With the help of several sponsors, Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan will again feed children this summer.

On June 16, Gleaners kicked off its Hunger Free Summer campaign with games, food and more during an event held at the Emerald Springs Townhomes in Detroit.

The event was open to the public. Attendees enjoyed meals, activities, a visit from Detroit Pistons mascot Hooper, a live DJ, face painting and balloon animals.

During the Hunger Free Summer campaign, free breakfast and lunch meals are available to children 18 years and younger at various sites, including schools, churches and community centers. The program also serves people up to age 26 who are enrolled in an educational program for mentally or physically disabled students that is recognized by a state or local public educational agency.

The 12-week program is part of Gleaners’ Making Investments in the Lives of Kids movement, and runs through Labor Day. At some locations, the students enjoy the meals right on-site. At other spots, the food is brought in via a mobile grocery truck where families can receive food. The program was made possible with financial support from Citizens Bank Michigan, Ford Motor Co. and other donors.

The campaign supports programs that provide meals to children who risk going hungry during summer vacation. Many schools offer free breakfast and lunch to students during the school year, but not during the summer. Gleaners networks with soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters to provide food to those in need. Food and monetary donations help support the program.

“When there is no school, there are no meals,” Gleaners Community Food Bank President and CEO Gerry Brisson said, adding that program officials plan to provide 2.5 million meals this summer. “The meals we raise through Hunger Free Summer offer immediate and much-needed relief and stability to those families, so their children can go back to school healthy and ready to learn. I’m grateful to Citizens (Bank Michigan) and all of our match partners for making this possible.”

Citizens Bank Michigan Executive Vice President Richard Hampson said this summer marks the eighth year that Citizens Bank Michigan has sponsored the summer program.

“It’s getting meals to the kids,” Hampson said. “We’re doing the best we can to try to end hunger. We’ve got a number of pillars in the community giving back. We and the other sponsors match every donation that comes into Gleaners dollar for dollar.”

Over the years, Hampson has visited the food sites to observe the program in action.

“It’s doing a phenomenal job getting food to the people who need it,” he said.

When Emerald Springs resident June Riley’s 10-year-old granddaughter, Mashelle Cleveland, visits in the summer, she utilizes the program.

“I like the food,” Cleveland said. “It’s really good.”

“It’s nutritional food,” Riley said. “They always give milk. It’s good for her.”

Erica Edwards, also an Emerald Springs resident, appreciates the program for her 4-year-old daughter, Heaven.

“It’s good for mothers by themselves. When you’re on a fixed income, it’s hard because sometimes you don’t have enough,” said Edwards. “Being a single parent, the program is helpful. You have something to give your kids. There’s a good variety of food.”

 


Below is a list of the Gleaners Community Food Bank Hunger Free Summer campaign sites in the C & G Newspapers coverage area. For breakfast and lunch times, families are asked to text 877-877 on their cellphones and input their ZIP codes. The information will then be provided.

• Cordova Courts, 34168 Wallis St., Clinton Township
• Academy of Warren, 13943 E. Eight Mile Road, Warren
• John F. Kennedy Memorial Park, 24501 Schroeder Ave., Eastpointe
• Momentum Academy, 99 E. Woodward Heights Blvd., Hazel Park
• New England Town Houses, 25901 Jeanette Court, Roseville
• Bradford Academy, 24218 Garner St., Southfield
• Hope United Methodist Church, 26275 Northwestern Highway, Southfield
• Kidz Den Daycare 2, 14060 Stephens Road, Warren
• Shadylane Estates, 2709 Capitol Ave., No. 92, Warren