Food Donation at Whalers Alumni Game Pays Instant Dividends
Photo - (Top) Volunteers pack boxes of food to be loaded on semi-trailers on Tuesday at the Crowell Recreational Center in northwest Detroit for Gleaners' Hunger Free Summer Campaign. (Mid-Right) 5,000 plates - symbolizing one day's worth of Hunger Free Summer food distribution - line the Crowell Recreation Center. Credit - Pete Krupsky and John Karasinski.
DETROIT - Fans of the Plymouth Whalers appreciate the chemistry of Rickard Rakell and Stefan Noesen.
For two seasons, Rakell and Noesen have shown that hard work mixed with grit and talent earns success for both players and ultimately, the Whalers.
On Tuesday, Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan joined forces with Charter One Foundation, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and other corporate partners at Crowell Recreational Center in northwest Detroit as part of Gleaners’ Hunger Free Summer Campaign.
Much like Rakell connecting with Noesen on a crisp pass that ends up in the back of the opposition’s net, the corporate partners efficiently packed 500 mobile pantry boxes with food and loaded three semi-trailers in a little more than 90 minutes.
Gleaners’ Hunger Free Summer campaign continues on Sat. Aug. 4 at 2 pm at Compuware Arena during the Whalers Champions for a Hunger Free Summer alumni game. Although fans will be admitted to the game for a $10, Gleaners and the Whalers are asking each fan who attends for ten cans of food. Every $1 donation provides six meals for hungry children in southeast Michigan.
According to Gleaners, the current demand for emergency food is at an all-time high.
Gerry Brisson, Senior Vice President of Advancement for Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, sees the demand for food every day.
“It really takes a community to feed the community,” Brisson said. “At the end of the day, there are over 315,000 kids who get free and reduced lunches at school during the school year. But then during the summer, they don’t get those meals. So few families (roughly 17 percent) are involved in a summer lunch program offered at schools throughout our service territories. As a result, families have a lot less food at home.
“So Gleaners sees a big surge in the number of people coming for help during the summer. It’s directly related to those meals in school.”
Fans that bring ten cans of food to the Whalers Alumni game will help the local community as quickly as Alex Aleardi goes end-to-end with the puck.
“(10 cans of food) is a great deal and a great deal for the game,” Brisson said. “First of all, the game is going to be awesome, so right off the bat, its’ worth whatever you are asked to give. Every one of those cans of food is going to go to families in mobile pantry distributions at schools all over Southeast Michigan. We’ll get that food in and within a week, it will be out the door to families that need it. So people are really making a difference by helping out.”
Other corporate sponsors are benefiting from the Hunger Free Summer Campaign.
“This is a wonderful community effort,” said Scott Swanson, President and CEO, Charter One Foundation. “Charter One is proud to have an opportunity to partner with Gleaners and a number of other key corporate citizens who are coming together to fight hunger in our community. This is part of an effort to provide two-million meals over the summertime – a time when many of the youth in the area don’t have the access to meals that they may have during the school year. So we’re very excited to be partnering together to get this done.
“We have 50-60 colleagues here today, partnering with Gleaners and other corporate sponsors. We’re very excited to be giving back to the community in which we live and work.”
Gleaners’ Hunger Free Summer has set ambitious goals:
- Through school-based mobile pantries, a total of 1,205,211 pounds of food will be delivered to families in partnership with 60 schools. School-based mobile pantries deliver 50 pounds of produce and 20 pounds of pantry staples to 150 to 200 families per month at each school.
- Through the Summer Food Service Program, nutritious prepared lunches are provided to children at more than 100 Summer Food Service Program sites, for a total of 187, 313 pounds.
- Summer Bags of food are provided to children at 40 sites in June, July and August, for a total of 248,810 pounds.
Donations can be made through September 10, 2012 by doing the following:
- Go online to www.hungerfreesummer.org
- Calling 866-GLEANER (453-2637)
- Text “HFS” TO 85944 (a $10 donation will be automatically added to donor’s cell phone bill – message and data rates may apply.)
- Checks by Mail: Hunger Free Summer, P.O. Box 1380, Troy, MI 48099.
In addition, the Hunger Free Summer Campaign can be followed on Twitter @HungerFreeSummer and on Facebook on