Ann Arbor — The 2020 Rotary Fights Child Hunger fund drive has raised the equivalent of 120,000 meals for Food Gatherers, Washtenaw County’s food rescue and food bank program. The drive is an extension of Rotary’s annual spring food and fund drive to support meals for children who do not have access to free and reduced-price meals when school is out for the summer. In response to early school closures as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis, the drive was expanded in scope and length to raise funds to support feeding children throughout our community.
Led by the Rotary Clubs of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, the annual campaign, launched in March, brought together local businesses, organizations, and individuals to fight the significant increase in child food insecurity because of the pandemic. A matching gift from the Harold and Kay Peplau Family Fund helped Rotary reach the highest meal total recorded by the annual event.
“We are grateful for the Rotary Club’s commitment during this challenging time to help our neighbors facing food insecurity,” said Eileen Spring, President and CEO of Food Gatherers. “Because of the pandemic and resulting economic downturn, many more people in our community are struggling to afford food, some for the first time. By adapting the traditional food drive, the Rotary Clubs of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti provided critical support to meet an unprecedented increase in need.”
Food Gatherers also congratulates Rotarian H. Todd Kephart, who recently received the 2020 Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor awarded by the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor. Todd has chaired the Rotary Fights Summer Hunger campaign committee since 2010 and his leadership has been key to the ongoing success of the annual food drive.
Food Gatherers will use the resources from the fund and food drive to distribute food through its network of 170 partner programs, who are reporting a 30%-300% increase in visitors since mid-
March. Partner programs include food pantries, meal programs, and emergency grocery services that help food insecure individuals and families throughout Washtenaw County.
Do you know someone who needs food? Please call 734-761-2796 or visit foodgatherers.org/needfood for a list of free resources, including home delivery. To learn more about Food Gatherers COVID-19 response, visit foodgatherers.org/COVID19.
About Food Gatherers
Food Gatherers’ mission is to alleviate hunger in Washtenaw County. As the food bank and food rescue program for the county, we distribute more than 7.8 million pounds of food to 170 non-profit programs serving low-income adults, seniors, and children every year. For a list of our partner programs, or to learn how you can become involved in the fight against hunger locally, please visit www.foodgatherers.org or call 734-761-2796.
Rotary International is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. To learn more about The Rotary Club of Ann Arbor, visit the web at http://www.a2rotary.org/