This spring, the Ross Medical Education Center Ann Arbor, Michigan campus once again hosted a food drive at their campus for their community. As this was their fifth annual food drive in conjunction with all of the other Ross Medical campuses, the Ann Arbor campus was already confident in their choice of beneficiary for this year’s drive. They selected local food rescue and food bank, Food Gatherers.
According to their website, “Food Gatherers exists to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in our community.” To that end, they help to cut down on food waste and to distribute both perishable and non-perishable food items to areas of need. They work together with other local organizations with a similar visit to coordinate relief efforts in their community and beyond. They also spend time and resources to educate their neighbors about the realities of hunger and ways that everyone can pitch in and help to support those in need.
Although Food Gatherers is definitely not the only food rescue organization in the state of Michigan, it is the first of its kind to be founded by a local for-profit business. Zingerman’s Delicatessen, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was originally opened in a historic building in the spring of 1982. The goal of founders Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig was to offer high-quality made to order sandwiches and other products. Then, in 1988, they founded Food Gatherers.
The origins of Food Gatherers were definitely pretty humble. In fact, a few days before Thanksgiving in 1988, some volunteers simply borrowed a van and then went around collecting bread, milk, eggs, and produce from local grocery stores and restaurants. Then, they took the food and delivered it to hot meal programs throughout the Ann Arbor area. However, it has grown far beyond what it once was. Now Food Gatherers boasts a full staff and over 6,000 volunteers that provides food for over 15,000 meals daily that help support 150 area programs. Families and children in the Ann Arbor area are daily helped by the work of Food Gatherers and a big vision that started almost 30 years ago.
When the Ann Arbor campus first contacted the organization, Campus Director Susan Mall said, “they even offered to pick up the food at the end of the drive!” Students and staff donated a variety of items from lotion, to canned foods, to even pet food! Ross student Matt Wilson from the Medical Insurance Billing and Office Administration program shared about how surprised at the variety of donations and that he was excited to be a part of something so great. Many other students and staff members felt the same!