DETROIT -- The Tigers began their final home series of the season Tuesday night. Before they did, Matthew Boyd took a trip to a local school to help see that families get the food they need over the holidays.
“No child should ever have to wonder where their next meal is going to come from,” said Boyd, who presented a check to the district Tuesday afternoon at the Academy of the Americas school in southwest Detroit. “So many families have so many tough decisions, choosing their needs. Hopefully this will help out and allow children and families to have food over Christmas break.”
Part of the money will go to food pantries at schools like the Academy of the Americas, which is open for 11 months out of the year and distributes food directly to families. At Academy of the Americas, families of schoolchildren created the pantry with help from business partners and Gleaners Food Bank to help make a difference directly with families. The school pantry also does a mobile food drop each month to serve 125 families, allowing parents and kids to pick and choose what they need.
Another portion of the donation will be converted into $100 gift cards that will be distributed across the district to needy families identified through school social workers, teachers or the principal. A final portion of the donation will be used to create food baskets for families to bring home from schools before the holiday break.
It’s a three-pronged approach to addressing a common need: How to feed kids during a stretch when they’re not in school to receive meals?
“We’re really using this gift to combat hunger during our vacations,” DPSCD deputy superintendent Alycia Meriweather said. “Our holiday in December is literally 16 days in a row with no school, and for students who live at or below poverty, you’re talking about 16 days with a lack of a dependable food source.”
Estimates place about half of Detroit children under age 18 living at or below poverty levels.
“Hopefully this will make it easier,” Boyd said. “They’ll have access to a pantry like this to have food over that long period and have the proper nourishment that they need. So much comes from a diet. It’ll be great in so many aspects for them.”
The Home Plate Project is a partnership between MLB, Big League Impact and the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation. While each Major League team has two players working with local organizations to combat hunger, the leaguewide project expects to provide more than 3.6 million meals and reach more than 25,000 children.