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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Food, Food Banks & Pantries, Food Programs

Mission: Food Gatherer''s mission is to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in the Washtenaw County community by: reducing food waste through the rescue and distribution of perishable and non-perishable food, coordinating with other hunger relief providers, educating the public about hunger and developing new food resources. Food Gatherers also offers job training in the food service industry to young people at risk of homelessness.

Results: Founded in 1988, Food Gatherers was the first food rescue program in Michigan and among the first six in the United States. In the first full year of operation, with only one staff person, a borrowed vehicle and a shared attic space, Food Gatherers distributed 63,000 pounds of perishable food to a dozen community agencies. By 1990, food distribution had doubled. In 1996, Food Gatherers assumed the operations of the county food bank, which was connected to a state and national system of food procurement. Food Gatherers quickly evolved from a supplemental to a primary provider of food to local human service agencies throughout Washtenaw County. More than 60 million pounds of wholesome food has been rescued and redistributed to agencies on the front-line of hunger relief.

Target demographics: Non-profit programs serving low-income adults, families, seniors and children in Washtenaw County.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 150 non-profit programs including hot meal programs, emergency food pantries, shelters, residential programs and summer food programs.

Geographic areas served: Washtenaw County

Programs:

Food Gatherers' Community Kitchen Job Training Program is part of ourorganization's overall effort to not merely alleviate hunger but to endhunger. Students are at-risk youth (ages 17-21) who receive six weeks (120hours) of instruction in the culinary arts, food safety (ServSafe certification)  and community service.They obtain marketable skills and at the same time they are feeding ourneighbors in need. By targeting young at-risk adults who are often recipientsof food assistance, we hope to help them secure gainful employment in the foodindustry.


Community Stories

10 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Alex34

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just started volunteering here recently, you get a real sense of helping the community out when you volunteer time here, an incredibly friendly place full of dedicated people working to make the world a better place.

1 Kelly154

Donor

Rating: 5

Excellent use of resources. Very effective communication. Doing great work for the community. Staff and volunteers are committed and very dedicated. We are fortunate to have them in our community.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This non-profit is one of the best in our county. Sound fiscal management, compassionate leadership and a dedicated base of volunteers. I would highly recommend donating to this organization!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I loved volunteering in the Kitchen with Paula and the crew.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Great organization that uses its resources wisely.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Food Gatherers is an organization with their "heart in the right place". They are committed to making our community better, in a variety of ways. We are lucky to have them!

3 Emily S.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love that I can donate fresh garden produce to Food Gatherers! So many food shelters can only take non-perishable processed foods. So this year, I grew a large plot of pumpkins and potatoes specifically for them to distribute this year. Each time I came in with a donation, they recognized me and updated me on how the vegetables were being used - mostly for pumpkin muffins at the shelter downtown. It made me feel good that I was helping some folks get a much-needed meal that's really nutritious.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Food Gatherers -- n the warehouse and in their kitchen at our local shelter -- as part of my company's ongoing support of Food Gatherers. As a volunteer, I have been impressed with professionalism, enthusiasm, commitment, imagination, and humor of the staff. I'm also a contributor to Food Gatherers (both food and money) because I know that my contributions are being used in the most effective way to help people and to promote good health in our community. Though I am a volunteer and donor, I'm writing as a "General Member of the Public" because I see the Food Gatherers trucks everywhere when I'm out in the public and I have been following its history since its beginnings in the late '80s. Food Gatherers is part of the fabric of our community.

2 Kristin P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer in the community kitchen weekly. The food that we serve is resteraut quality and the people we serve are very thankful to have a good hot meal. Some of our people that come in say it's their only meal of the day. There are working people who just do not have enough money for food. Thank you Food Gatherers for making a difference in Ann Arbor.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer on pick-up and delivery routes for a couple of years now. It's one of the best things I've ever done. I'm continually impressed by the operational efficiency of Food Gatherers right down to the most microscopic details. This focus is unique in non-profits, in my experience. Also, the people are truly outstanding. I look forward to every shift. Truly can't say enough good about this organization.