Volunteer this Holiday Season
Volunteering at Food GatherersPaula and I took an afternoon off last week to volunteer at Food Gatherers - a local food rescue program.
Food Gatherers exists to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in our community. It was established here in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1988 by Zingerman's Deli (a local award-winning delicatessen). They started the food rescue program in 1988 by gathering 50 pounds of vegetables, bread, milk, and eggs from Ann Arbor restaurants and grocery stores and re-distributed that food to local hot meal programs.
Today, Food Gatherers has 30 staff people and more than 7,000 volunteers. Last year (2017), they distributed 6.5 million pounds of food (5.4 million meals), to people and programs in need in our country (Washtenaw County, Michigan).
Food Gatherers serves 170 non-profit agencies and programs in the area, providing direct food assistance in the form of hot meals, nutritious snacks or emergency groceries to low-income adults, seniors and children.
The food is rescued from more than 300 local sources - food retailers, restaurants and food wholesalers. This is food that would otherwise go to waste.
Your neighbors living in poverty face a much higher likelihood of having high cholesterol, diabetes and other diet related ailments. Food Gatherers is focused on distributing not just more pounds of food, but more nutritionally valuable food. 60% of the food distributed is fresh fruits, vegetables or meat, eggs, and other protein items.
What we didWe had a group of ten volunteers. Our assignment was to take a pallet load of frozen squash (it was cut into small cubes) and break down this frozen cube of squash into 2 pound bags. The pallet had 1,400 pounds of squash and it was frozen solid. Oh, and we got to wear a hair net.
What you can doThere is plenty you can do. Find a local food shelter, food program, food pantry, or food drive and donate food, money, or your time.