(WJBK) - The holidays are nearly here and that means holiday food drives for those struggling to make ends meet.
Food insecurity is a real problem in southeast Michigan and area businesses are asking for your help feeding the hungry.
"This is a problem that's near you - even if you don't see it," said Gerry Brisson, president of Gleaners Community Food Bank.
More than 300,000 children receive free or reduced lunches. Think about what that means for families when those kids are home from school on vacation.
"Even if you just have two kids at home - that's 4, 5, 6 meals a day that you're not getting somehow," Brisson said.
That's where Gleaners and its community partners come in by filling that need for so many. There are an estimated 700,000 food insecure people in the five counties they serve.
"The need is a lot more than we think it is. It's easy to just imagine in your life that everything is going well that everybody else's must be as well - and that's not really the case so it's nice to be able to help out where we can," said Scott Wiesler of Anytime Fitness in Canton.
They began their holiday food drive and are not just losing pounds or lifting pounds. Their goal is to collect pounds - hundreds of pounds of food by Thanksgiving and they're even offering an incentive.
"We're trying to raise 300 lbs. of food. Nonmembers can come in - if they bring us a food donation we'll let them work out for free for the day - if they bring in five pounds or more - we'll give them a great deal on a membership as well," Wiesler said.
So what should you drop in those donation boxes? Canned goods - plenty of those - along with cereal, pastas and proteins.
"Anything convenient - soup is great. Any kind of canned meat is wonderful - tuna fish or the canned chicken or the pouches - you know we never get enough protein so those things are really, really super," Brisson said.
So when you see Gleaners boxes at Anytime Fitness in Canton or Ypsilanti, or at any other businesses around town, don't hesitate to make a donation. You're really making a difference.