DETROIT — For the ninth year in a row Higher Hopes! will be providing 1,000 Detroit area families full Thanksgiving meals through its “1,000 Turkeys, 10,000 Smiles” program.
The kits contain everything from a delicious turkey to all the sides and dessert, and provide enough food to feed 12 to 16 people. This year, participating families will be given a $50 gas card to help alleviate the problems caused by rising gas prices. In 2021 Higher Hopes! was able to provide 400 families with gas cards, but after seeing what a difference it made, the decision was made to ensure all 1,000 families would receive this benefit in 2022.
In addition to the Thanksgiving meal program, Higher Hopes! continues to support 1,000 families with monthly meal kits, each containing 35-45 lbs of fresh, nutritious foods. These go to families who have children enrolled in Early Head Start Child Care Programs. The kits contain proteins such as chicken, pork, or beef, fresh, frozen, canned fruits and vegetables, grains like pasta and cereal, milk, eggs, fruit juice, and more.
Higher Hopes! once again partnered with Famous Dave’s restaurants and Applebaum Family Philanthropy to provide families with a delicious Labor Day feast, including two pork butts totaling 15 pounds with Famous Dave’s Rib Rub and award-winning BBQ sauce, plus Meijer Brand baked beans, fresh corn on the cob, Jiffy cornbread mix from Chelsea Milling, fresh cabbage and coleslaw dressing, and watermelon for dessert.
Earlier in the year, Higher Hopes! worked with the Food Bank Council of Michigan as part of a program with Feeding America, and distributed 117,600 bags of 2-oz sliced apples from Peterson Farms in Shelby, Mich.
“Higher Hopes! Heroes invest time and money to provide households with access to sufficient, nutritious food,” said Higher Hopes! founder Bill Birndorf. “This is accomplished through collaborations, efficient operations, education, and innovative solutions to battle hunger in the metro Detroit area. The faces of hunger may surprise you. Many who need assistance are middle-class families, the working poor, children, and the elderly. No one should suffer from a lack of access to quality and nutritious food. Giving families the ability to celebrate the holidays with loved ones in their own home is at the core of the Higher Hopes! mission.”
Approximately 1.4 million people struggle with hunger and food insecurities in the state of Michigan, with approximately 400,000 of those people being children. Hungry families are forced to make difficult choices each month, between paying for food and paying for transportation, medical care, housing, and utilities. With its expansive growth over the years, Higher Hopes! has distributed over 2 million pounds of food and hopes to increase that number in 2023.
Higher Hopes! is an agency partner of Gleaners Food Bank, and through its mobile pantry platform it is able to distribute meal kits containing 35-45 pounds of food every month to families who have children enrolled in the Early Head Start Childcare Partnership Programs throughout Southeastern Michigan.
Recipients are metro Detroit area families that have children enrolled in the federal government’s Early Head Start Childcare Partnership Programs early childhood programs (e.g., Early Head Start, Head Start, and Great Start Readiness). To qualify for these programs, the family’s income must be equal to or below the poverty line.