Socially Responsible Companies Helping to Feed the Hungry Kids of Michigan
Would you think that one in five children in Michigan, the U.S., a developed nation, struggles to have nutritious food? Suffers from malnutrition? Well, it’s true, and to fight this epidemic of childhood hunger, The Chrysler Foundation, Chrysler Group LLC and United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSM) have gotten together with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan for the ‘Weekend Backpack programme’. The Chrysler Group employees worked hard to fill 12,000 backpacks with nutritious food, creating 72,000 meals. These food packs will be available from July 27 to August 31 2012 at 35 selected Detroit Summer Food Service Program sites.
According to Gleaners, an organisation that bridges the hunger gap and creates greater awareness and access to summer food programs, only 13 percent of the Detroit area’s children who are eligible for free or reduced meals at school participate in summer food programs. On weekends, when summer food programs are not available, these children often go without meals. In 2011, Gleaners provided food to approximately 21,500 children whose families struggled to afford groceries. Significantly, more than 315,000 kids in metro Detroit rely on school meals.
These food bags contain sliced peaches, cut green beans, beef ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, raisin bran cereal and shelf stable milk—enough food for about six meals. The total cost of the food, $60,000. It was all funded by the Chrysler Foundation while the Chrysler Group provided the bags and volunteers to fill the backpacks. Jody Trapasso, President, The Chrysler Foundation says, “We are proud to be a partner and to help meet this pressing need in the fight against childhood hunger. We hope the Weekend Backpack program will also help to nourish our children’s dreams for a bright future.” The Chrysler Foundation over the last 59 years has awarded more than $500 million in charitable grants.
Ending childhood hunger in Michigan is a top priority here and Chrysler’s support plays a key role. Its commitment ensures that these children succeed in their own community because it’s a well-known fact that hungry students cannot focus on learning. ‘The Weekend Backpack program is just one of several initiatives that this socially responsible company has undertaken as it has also called on its 62,200 plus workforce to become engaged, and to pledge their support online or to volunteer for food-related community service activities or gather food donations at the company’s Southeastern Michigan facilities.
Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO, is this year’s UWSEM campaign chair; to end child hunger in Michigan is one of UWSEM’s biggest goals. It has partnered with Share Our Strength, a national not-for-profit and the State of Michigan. They have all come together to create the Michigan No Kid Hungry initiative. The program is designed to connect more children to free, nutritious school and summer meal programs. Child poverty in Michigan is alarming, and impacts the ability of the state’s economy to recover.
Photo Credit: UWSEM Website