TROY, MI — A Troy-based auto group is teaming up with a local community food bank to help feed Southeast Michigan residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Suburban Collection in Troy has announced the launch of “Drive Away Hunger,” a fundraising campaign aiming to raise 1 million meals for Gleaners Community Food Bank by the end of 2020.

“For decades Gleaners has been an unwavering lifeline for those facing hunger and continues to rise to the occasion now, when they are needed more than ever,” The Suburban Collection President and CEO David Fischer Jr. said. “Across The Suburban Collection, our team members are enthusiastic and determined to meet the one million meal goal in support of Gleaners’ work for our community.”

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Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 5 people in Southeast Michigan struggled with hunger, according to a news release. Now, Feeding America, representing a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, predicts an additional 212,000 people will be at risk of hunger in the region. Hunger among children is projected to rise to nearly 24 percent.

The goal of the partnership between The Suburban Collection and Gleaners is to help combat those issues in southeast Michigan.

The Suburban Collection’s leadership and 3,000 team members across its Southeast Michigan locations will cooperate toward the million-meal goal through such activities as Jeans Days, where employees can make a donation in exchange for a more casual Friday attire; raffles for employee perks; and location-specific fundraising initiatives.

Customers and the community are encouraged to participate by donating in-store or participating in The Suburban Collection’s virtual food drive through Gleaners here.

At the virtual food drive webpage, donors can make a financial contribution of their choice or they can “shop with Gleaners.” Through Gleaners’ “Shop with Us Virtual Food Drive” portal, donors can select food items forming their donation amount. Every dollar donated provides three meals.

“Families, children, seniors and our neighbors who are isolated are facing hardships at a level higher than we’ve ever seen in Gleaners’ history,” Gleaners President and CEO Gerry Brisson said. “One thing we can do together is make sure food is not one of their worries. Support to The Suburban Collection’s ‘Drive Away Hunger’ campaign will help provide nourishing food to households deeply affected by the pandemic. When we come together to fight hunger—everyone wins.”

Headquartered in Detroit, Gleaners operates distribution centers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties. The organization has drastically increased its food distribution by 40 percent since March 2020, averaging 6.5 million pounds each month, according to a news release.

Gleaners distributes nutritious foods – including fresh milk, vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean protein – to more than 500 partner agencies, through drive-up food distribution sites across Southeast Michigan and in emergency food boxes through 120 community partners, among other programs.

As part of the Drive Away Hunger campaign, The Suburban Collection will allocate funds raised by its Ann Arbor locations to Food Gatherers, the local food bank serving Washtenaw County communities.

Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2020, more than 54 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.

This article originally appeared on the Troy Patch

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