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More fresh, healthy food on the way for metro Detroiters

PepsiCorp volunteers show of the truck donated to Gleaners

The plan is to get more fresh, healthy food into the hands of Detroit area residents.

So Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan Gleaners, metro Detroit’s two largest nonprofit food providers, teamed up together and with PepsiCo to deliver the right food at the right time to Detroit area residents who need their services.

Gleaners worked with PepsiCo.’s volunteer PepsiCorps team to develop the My Neighborhood Mobile Grocery. The traveling pantry will help Southwest Detroiters who buy food with Federal Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) stretch their dollars further and purchase nutritious items based on dietary needs and food preferences.

L-R: Forgotten Harvest CEO Kirk Mayes and Gleaners President Gerry Brisson chat with PepsiCorps volunteers

L-R: Forgotten Harvest CEO Kirk Mayes and Gleaners President Gerry Brisson chat with PepsiCorps volunteers

The need is great in that Detroit neighborhood. About a third of Southwest Detroit residents receive SNAP benefits, also known as the Bridge Card or EBT, and about 45 percent of SNAP recipients are under 17. Each month a typical SNAP client receives $130 in food benefits, and the majority of clients exhaust their benefits halfway through the month.

My Neighborhood Mobile Grocery customers will be enable them to buy nutritious food at subsidized prices from a list of about 50 staples, such as milk, potatoes and cooking oil. The goal is for each family using SNAP to stretch its monthly budget by receiving $70 worth of food for every $50 spent.

“The PepsiCorps volunteers brought the full power of their global expertise to help us with a strategy to deliver fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains to SNAP clients, many of whom are families with young children,” said Gleaners President Gerry Brisson.

The second program is an innovative hub and spoke logistics plan that will help Forgotten Harvest source more fresh food and distribute it more efficiently and less expensively to metro Detroit residents in need. By decentralizing the food supply, coordinating logistics and food collection, and food delivery pick-ups and drop-offs, Forgotten Harvest can make sure there is more fresh food for less money.

“Our job is to bring the right food to the right people in the right amount of time,” said Kirk Mayes CEO of Forgotten Harvest. “The PepsiCorps team brought its global logistics expertise to this project, and together we developed a streamlined distribution plan that saves money and time by coordinating logistics and food collection, and food delivery pick-ups and drop-offs.”

To help make the PepsiCorps recommendations a reality, the PepsiCo Foundation donated a 53-foot semi-tractor trailer to Forgotten Harvest and a 24-foot mobile food pantry to Gleaners.

Kirk Mayes with the donated to Forgotten Harvest from Pepsi

Kirk Mayes with the donated to Forgotten Harvest from Pepsi

 

Gerry Brisson with the truck donated to Gleaners

Gerry Brisson with the truck donated to Gleaners

“As the world watches the rebirth of Detroit, we deployed PepsiCorps to the Motor City to play a critical role in helping build a stronger city by providing residents with more reliable and efficient ways to obtain healthy and nutritious food,” said Tony West, executive vice president, general counsel of PepsiCo and president of the PepsiCo Foundation.  “We work every day to improve the lives of people in the communities where we work, live and serve.  We are honored to be working with Gleaners and Forgotten Harvest to make a positive impact on society, and as we watch the renaissance of this great city continue, we will do it knowing that we played a very small, but important role.”

Forgotten Harvest is piloting the hub and spoke logistics plan in Macomb County and will evaluate the program at the end of 2015. The hope is that 25% more food will be distributed at around the same cost as the current model once the organization uses. If successful, similar programs will be introduced in Oakland and Wayne counties in 2016.

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