To help fight hunger in southeast Michigan, Bank of America donated $100 for each bank employee who recorded a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot in addition to a company contribution. Mike Spicer, Chief Operating Officer, left to right, Forgotten Harvest; Julianna Smoot, Chief Development Officer, City of Detroit, Office of Development and Grants; Kirk Mayes, CEO, Forgotten Harvest; Matt Elliott, President, Bank of America Michigan; Denise Fair Razo, Chief Public Health Officer, City of Detroit, Detroit Health Department.
Bank of America today announced it has donated $50,000 to Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners Community Food Bank, totaling $100,000 and worth approximately 400,000 meals to address food insecurity in the region. An estimated 1.3 million people in Michigan were food insecure in 2020. As the pandemic continues, hunger relief organizations in southeast Michigan and across the state are facing ongoing challenges such as increased demand for their services and rising food prices.
Bank of America is supporting its employees’ health and safety while addressing one of the local communities’ most critical needs. Earlier this year, the company announced it would make a $100 donation to local hunger relief organizations and food banks for each employee in Detroit who received a COVID-19 booster shot or vaccine and notified the bank before the end of January. The company made an additional contribution to address the increased need experienced by hunger relief organizations across the country.
For every $100 donated to Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners, 300 to 400 meals are provided to local neighbors in need. This means that the “booster donation” made to the two nonprofit organizations will provide up to 400,000 meals to individuals and families throughout southeast Michigan.
Last year, Forgotten Harvest rescued more than 45 million pounds of food by collecting surplus prepared and perishable food from over 800 locations, including grocery stores, fruit and vegetable markets, restaurants, caterers, dairies, farmers, wholesale food distributors and other Health Department-approved sources. Throughout the pandemic, Forgotten Harvest’s primary challenge has been responding fully to the heightened need for emergency food supplies while continually adapting to changing food sources and fluctuations in partner agency status.
“Forgotten Harvest is proud of its partnership with Bank of America and its support of our work to reduce hunger and food insecurity while preventing food waste,” said Kirk Mayes, CEO Forgotten Harvest. “Bank of America and its employees have provided important financial and volunteer community support to our organization for many years, and we are excited to partner with them again on this important initiative to keep their employees healthy and safe.”
Since 1977 Gleaners Community Food Bank has been a vital link between available food and those who need it most, providing food to hundreds of food pantries, shelters, and other agencies across southeastern Michigan. The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it the largest food crisis in Gleaners’ history. An outpouring of philanthropy and community support enabled Gleaners to quickly broaden food distribution partnerships and create emergency distribution hubs. At the height of the crisis, Gleaners provided over 6 million meals each month to a food-insecure population estimated at more than 650,000 people in Southeast Michigan.
“We are grateful to Bank of America, a longtime supporter of Gleaners, for including our organization in this important initiative,” said Gerry Brisson, president and CEO, Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. “Like them, we are committed to the health and well-being of our neighbors in this community. This effort will help Gleaners continue to provide nutritious food to hungry families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet this winter.”
Nationally, the bank has committed $10.6 million dollars to food banks and hunger relief organizations through this effort. Since 2015, Bank of America has donated nearly $150 million toward hunger relief efforts. Since 2008, the bank has provided more than $1.1 million in funding to support the local hunger relief efforts of Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners.
“Forgotten Harvest and Gleaners Community Food Bank address poverty by working to ensure food security for individuals and families throughout southeast Michigan, and we share that common goal,” said Matt Elliott, President, Bank of America Michigan. “This program is a dual investment in our community and employees, doing our part to support the health and wellness of our region.”
Bank of America committed to donating a minimum of $25,000 in each of the company’s 93 markets to local nonprofit partners as part its vaccine booster effort. Because vaccination boosters and reporting are voluntary and additional company contributions are reflected in the final amount, actual donation amounts differ from the number of boosters reported by bank employees.
The company has encouraged staff to get COVID-19 vaccinations since summer 2021 and has offered incentives such as paid time-off and $500 credits towards health benefit premiums. In partnership with local nonprofits, Bank of America has also distributed more than 38 million masks, 41,000 cases of hand sanitizer and 11 million gloves in local communities as part of its ongoing efforts to address health-related disparities accelerated by the pandemic.
Finally, as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) continues to be an essential component in the fight against coronavirus, Bank of America also will be donating more than 100,000 face masks, 60,000 gloves and 50 cases of bottled hand sanitizer to support the work of both nonprofit organizations.