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Gerry Brisson, Andra Rush, Nancy Schlichting and Faye Nelson

Imagine over hearing a child tell another student he hasn’t had a meal since yesterday’s lunch. This is the reality for more than 300,000 southeastern Michigan children, roughly 48 percent, who rely on free or reduced-fee lunch.

On Thursday, April 21, 650 powerful women, leaders in our community, came together with a goal to provide a million meals for hungry children in metro Detroit. Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan (Gleaners) held it’s 23rd annual Women’s Power Breakfast at Detroit’s historic Eastern Market with title sponsor PNC Bank who matched the number of meals per dollar.

Gleaners currently provides food to over 130 schools in the metro Detroit area with another 200 on the waiting list. The Million Meals Match campaign will provide five counties in Michigan over one hundred meals a day. To date, the Gleaners Women’s Power events and Million Meal Match campaign have raised over $300,000 toward Gleaners’ goal to provide one million meals to hungry children across southeast Michigan.

Gina Coleman and Vivian Pickard

Gleaners is able to feed hungry children through their programs, BackPack, Smart Bites and school-based mobile pantry programs, enabling them to reach thousands of children with the healthy food they need to grow and thrive.

“We cannot advance as long as there are hungry children in our mist. Kids who do not have adequate nutrition get sick much more often, have trouble paying attention and doing well in school,. They tend to be obese and compromise their health by building a negative foundation for their future health,” said co-chair Nancy Schlicting of Henry Ford Health Systems. Attendees heard from Celestine Mabene, a kindergarten teacher who connected her granddaughter’s school with Gleaners for food support.

Celestine Mabene, Talayah Stewart, Tannika Mabene, Amy Andrews, Dr. Pamela Bilbrew

“It’s all about the opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small in ensuring our young people have the nutrition and food security to be able to focus on being successful,” said Faye Nelson.

The breakfast raised a total of 967,500 meals and counting. There is still time to donate.

For more information or to donate to the Million Meal Match campaign visit http://www.gcfb.org/millionmatch.

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