Michigan Medicine nears 300,000 meal donation mark in ongoing food and toiletries drive

ANN ARBOR, MI — An ongoing food drive in Michigan Medicine is looking to top the milestone of 300,000 meals donated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The food and toiletries collection initiative began in March 2020 in conjunction with the Food Gatherers of Ann Arbor and has so far collected approximately 281,000 meal donations, Michigan Medicine officials said.

Another campaign started on Saturday March 26 to get closer to 300,000 people and will continue until April 10. The goal is to address food insecurity throughout Washtenaw County.

To help meet the needs of 170 organizations across the county, donors can drop off non-perishable food items and toiletries at Dock 90 at the University of Michigan’s North Campus Research Complex, 2800 Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor, just off Huron Parkway.

Donations can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every weekday until the collection ends on April 10. Michigan Medicine volunteers will help pick up and unload donations between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

A list of most needed items is available at michmed.org/mostneeded. Those interested in donating can also donate online at foodgatherers.org/um.

Efforts to address food insecurity are still important amid the depths of the pandemic, officials said, as insecurity across the county is still 7% higher than pre-pandemic. Inflation also contributed to the problem, said Tony Denton, chief operating officer of UM Health.

“Food insecurity can affect the physical and mental health of children and adults, and is one of the key factors known as the social determinants of health,” he said in a statement. “This campaign is part of our ongoing commitment to meaningful presence, connecting with our communities to maintain and improve health. Addressing this inequity is very important to our Michigan Medicine values ​​of care and inclusion.

Food Gatherers, located at 1 Carrot Way in Ann Arbor, distributed 9 million pounds of food to more than 64,000 people in fiscal year 2021, the statement said. These donations also support Meals on Wheels, which partners with Michigan Medicine through their community health services, officials said.

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