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Debbie has three young kids ranging in age from 4 to 8. Her youngest was in the car with her as she waited to receive food at a Gleaners food distribution at Fowlerville High School, in Fowlerville, Michigan. "I'm just reaching out to find any help I can for our family," said Debbie. "I've never had to go to a food bank before, so this is new to me." Debbie heard about the mobile food distribution through her child's elementary school, and said she was especially grateful that it is open to anyone in sudden need. Debbie lost her job due to the COVID-19 crisis. "I'm so grateful to be able to get this food now from Gleaners."
Jennie has been using food assistance for the first time. She has been visiting Gleaners' drive-up food distribution at the Roberto Clemente Recreation Center in southwest Detroit every two weeks to help feed her two older children living at home and her husband, who is on disabilities. Jennie said she feels great pressure to make sure her family can eat. "My kids are graduating this year too. Without enough money to eat, I am worried that we cannot even celebrate."
"For me, the groceries help us get by in a lot of ways. I can make different meals and make the food stretch. I know for the younger kids, they really love the fruit. It's a really great offering and I make sure my neighbors know there is help." Jennie also told her friends about the ongoing distributions throughout the region. "Two of my friends don't have transportation. I know their kids are at home from school, and I asked them how they were able to feed everyone, because I knew I was struggling," said Jennie. "I began picking up food for them. And now, I can drive them out to the other Gleaners' distribution near where they live in west Detroit."
Beatrice is retired, lives on a fixed income, and shares a home with her daughter and six-year old granddaughter. Even before she retired, Beatrice had to manage her budget to make it through the month. "I've suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for twenty years. I have five screws in my foot. I had to limit my work more and more, so I am pretty good at getting by." But when her daughter was furloughed from her job, Beatrice needed help.
Beatrice found the help she needed right next door, at the Gleaners' drive-up distribution site operating at Detroit Leadership Academy. "Coming here was the first time I have had to ask for help, or food assistance. I have always tried to make it on my own, but this is helping my family. The food is great—it's helps me and my daughter tremendously."