Thinking about hunger in America on Thanksgiving Day may not be appetizing, I admit. So, today I want to feature a success story when it comes to feeding America’s hungry. To be accurate, I should say when it comes to feeding the hungry in one little corner of America, the Southeast Michigan county of Washtenaw. The place is Food Gatherers. And their mission is to alleviate hunger in this part of the state and eliminate its causes.
Food Gatherers is unique. It’s not the only program that redistributes food, but it’s the only one to be founded by a for-profit company: Zingerman’s, a set of high-quality food-related businesses in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
I see Food Gatherers trucks all around Ann Arbor, rescuing food from restaurants, grocery stories, and the University of Michigan. They gather the food that is perfectly edible but about to be thrown out. According to their web site, they have over 300 sources of food. They now run the county food bank, and have become the main source of food for the hungry in the area.
Food Gatherers feeds families and children in need. Each day they serve the equivalent of 8,000 meals. They operate a community kitchen, and have a culinary program to train at-risk youth (that is, homeless or about to be homeless). In the last 20 years, they have distributed over 40 million pounds of food.