Food Gatherers cancels Grillin’ 2021, launches matching fundraiser

Ann Arbor — For the second year in a row, Food Gatherers has cancelled “Grillin’ for Food Gatherers” over COVID-19 safety concerns. The food bank and food rescue organization serving Washtenaw County has launched a matching campaign to address the ongoing increase in food insecurity.

Grillin’ for Food Gatherers is the organization’s annual outdoor picnic and fundraiser to help alleviate hunger in Washtenaw County. It attracts more than 1,400 attendees in one day to the Washtenaw County Fairgrounds and supports the fight against hunger in our community.

“When we cancelled Grillin’ 2020, we were in the midst of a crisis unlike anything our organization had experienced before,” said Food Gatherers President and CEO, Eileen Spring. “Our immediate response was to focus on helping our partner agencies stay open and distribute needed food to the community as safely as possible. One year later, our neighbors are still struggling, food insecurity rates remain high, and Food Gatherers anticipates our elevated response will be necessary for at least 18 months, if not longer.”

In an effort to support their ongoing COVID-19 response, Food Gatherers has launched a matching campaign. All donations, up to $35,000, will be matched 1:1 by the Harold and Kay Peplau Family Fund. Donors can give online at, by phone at 734-761-2796, or by mailing a check payable to Food Gatherers to P.O. Box 131037 Ann Arbor, MI 48113.

The fundraiser comes at a time when pantries and meal programs are in high demand. In Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020) Food Gatherers distributed a record breaking 7.8 million pounds of food, and has already exceeded its goal of 8 million pounds for Fiscal Year 2021.

Food Gatherers is also encouraging the community to support the local businesses who historically have been Grillin’ sponsors or have donated to the organization during the last year. “We are proud that many of our community sponsors have committed to support Food Gatherers in lieu of a Grillin’ sponsorship this year,” says Spring. “We hope you will read through the lists below and support these local businesses generously.” (see the complete list at the end of this article)

Food Gatherers encourages anyone who needs food to visit their website,, to find a map and list of pantries and meal programs in Washtenaw County. Updates on the food bank’s COVID-19 response and details on how to get involved can be found at

Grillin’ 2021 sponsors:
Brentwood Electric, Busch’s, Domino’s, Dunning Toyota & Subaru, KLA Foundation, Kroger, NSF International, Om of Medicine, Paragon Sight & Sound, Thomson Reuters, Zingerman’s, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Soble Rowe Krichbaum, The Mosaic Foundation of R. & P. Heydon, White Claw (in partnership with O&W, Inc.), Bank of Ann Arbor, The Bloom Family, Drew Fitzmorris, DTE Foundation, Old National Bank, Wilkinson Foundation, Destination Ann Arbor, Hylant, Plante Moran, Steve & Judy Dobson, U-M Credit Union, Altruic Advisors, Arbor Trust Wealth Advisors, Home Helper LLC, Hooper Hathaway, Phoenix Contractors, Reinhart Realtors, Robertson Morrison Inc, Bill Dufek, State Farm Insurance Agency, Bookbound Bookstore, Ferguson Widmayer & Clark, Jason Boggs, Reinhart Realtor, Taste the Local Difference, UHY LLP, Washtenaw Community College

Supporting food businesses:
Afternoon Delight Café, Arbor Springs Water Co., Arctic Glacier, Busch’s Fresh Food Market, Café Zola/Zola Bistro, Calder Dairy, Casey’s Tavern, Cherry Republic, Clancy’s Fancy, Coffee Express Co., Conor O’Neill’s, Cultivate, Domino’s Pizza, Everyday Wines, Fabulous Food Inc., Food Art, Inc., Fresh Thyme, Frog Holler Produce, Gordon Food Service, Grange Kitchen & Bar, Guernsey Farms Dairy, Imperial Beverage, Kroger, Lagunitas Brewery, U-M Catering, Mity Nice Italian Ice, Monahan’s Seafood Market, O&W, Inc., People’s Food Co-op, Red Hawk Bar & Grill, Salt Springs, Satchel’s BBQ, Short’s Brewery, Silvio’s, TeaHaus, The Brinery, The Wurst Bar, Tios Mexican Café, Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Zingerman’s Creamery, Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Zingerman’s Roadhouse

Community Kitchen Meal Donors:
Ayse’s Turkish Café, Blue Llama, Cardamom, Cottage Inn, Dominos, Everest Sherpa Restaurant, Grange, Harvest Kitchen, Hut Kay Fusion, Knight’s Steakhouse, Little Caesars, Miss Kim, Of Rice & Men, Teahaus, Tio’s Mexican Restaurant, Whole Foods, Zingerman’s Catering, Zingerman’s Deli, Zingerman’s Roadhouse

About Food Gatherers
Food Gatherers’ mission is to alleviate hunger and eliminate its root causes in Washtenaw County. The food bank and food rescue program for the county, we distributed 7.8 million pounds of food to 170 non-profit programs serving adults, seniors and children last year. For a list of our partner programs or to learn how you can become involved in the fight against hunger locally, please visit or call 734-761-2796.