Higher Hopes! To Provide Complete Thanksgiving Meal Kits For 1,000 Families

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Some of the crew
Some of the crew

When Bill Birndorf started Higher Hopes! in 2014, he had a dream of helping those in need in the City of Detroit. Little did he know that his dream would grow and blossom into a program that now provides over 200,000 pounds of food to underserved families in Detroit.

Higher Hopes! is happy to announce that it is once again getting ready to pack up 1,000 complete Thanksgiving meal kits – with everything from the turkey to delicious desserts – that will be given to families with children enrolled in the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Programs, which encompass the Early Head Start, Head Start, and Great Start Readiness Programs in Detroit.

Families are chosen on a financial need basis and those who qualify will receive a complete meal kit with all of the supplies needed to make a delicious Thanksgiving meal to feed between twelve and fifteen people, in their own homes with their own families and friends. The kits are so complete they even contain plates, roasting pans, and cutlery.

But the donations don’t stop there! Higher Hopes!, with the help of many companies big and small, raised enough money in 2015 that they partnered with Gleaners and tapped into their Summer Mobile Pantry initiative, adding the distribution of 1,700, 35-pound meal kits containing protein, fruit, vegetables, grains, juice and more to families for kids on summer break.

Volunteers from last year
Volunteers from last year

For the Thanksgiving program, Gleaners Community Food Bank has once again generously agreed to store all food donations, handle delivery logistics, and allow Higher Hopes! to use their facility for packing meal kits. Pack-Up Day will be held at Gleaners on Saturday, Nov. 19, at its Warren location, 24162 Mound Road in Warren, and Distribution Day will take place with the use of Gleaners four semi-tractor trailers on Monday, Nov. 21 at four Head Start sites in the city of Detroit. 350 volunteers will be needed for this task, and the public is welcome to sign up.

The new 2016 Higher Hopes! website has a button for donations directly through PayPal using credit or debit cards. Monetary donations can also be made via checks made out to Higher Hopes! and sent to 8898 Commerce Road, Suite 5C Commerce, MI 48382.

Higher Hopes! is a registered 501 C 3 started by Bill Birndorf, owner of Commerce-based Apple Marketing Company, now in its 32nd year. Birndorf came up with the idea the night of Thanksgiving 2013 after seeing a news story about people in the city who were struggling to buy food for the holidays to feed their families.

“This project has really blossomed into a wonderful show of support of love for those in need at Thanksgiving and in the summer,” says Birndorf. “We receive a lot of great support from places like Gleaners, and Project Healthy Community, a Detroit-based charity which helps organizing volunteers for packing and delivering. We also receive quite a bit of support from 30 corporate sponsors, 100 individuals and charitable foundations like the Dresner Foundation and The William and Audrey Farber Foundation. There is no cutoff date for donations but our goal is to raise $70,000 in funds by 12/30/2016.”

“Some of our corporate sponsors this year include Apple Marketing Company, Quicken Loans, Meijer, MJS Packaging, Pinnacle Homes, SpartanNash, Michigan Potato Industry Commission, The Applebaum Family Compass Fund, Costco, Cooper Street Cookies, Detroit Popcorn Company, The Libman Company, Chelsea Milling, Coca Cola, Franklin Publicity, McKeon Products, Big Lots, Lormax Stern, and TPS Envelope. Over $40 K in donations have already been received and more are forthcoming.”

“We do this to let these poor inner city families know that we have their backs and we want them to know that we feel for their situation and we want to help them.

“Our program has been so successful and so well liked by everybody who supports it that for 2017 we will distribute over 200,000 pounds of good quality food which serves over 100,000 meals. These are amazing numbers that are achievable because of amazing supporters.”

For more information about Higher Hopes!, to make food or monetary donations to help this year’s cause, and interviews with Bill Birndorf, please call  (248) 360-9300, email volunteer@higherhopesdetroit.org, or visit www.higherhopesdetroit.org.

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