Detroit Pistons, Wayne County and Corporate Partners Provide $375,000 Grant for Forgotten Harvest

The Detroit Pistons, Wayne County and corporate partners Lineage Logistics, United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM), Flagstar Foundation and AAA The Auto Club Group announced today a $375,000 grant to Forgotten Harvest providing immediate support to the non-profit’s food recovery and distribution efforts in response to COVID-19.

“The community needs everyone to come together now more than ever,” said Pistons Owner Tom Gores. “I’m proud to see our partners joining forces to help those who need it most. There is so much more that needs to be done.”

Mr. Gores said his team is working on multiple relief initiatives right now in collaboration with public officials, corporate partners and community organizations.

“Forgotten Harvest serves a vital role in providing needed food resources for Detroit and all of southeast Michigan,” said Pistons Vice Chairman Arn Tellem. “The need to extend those efforts has increased in response to the COVID-19 crisis and we’re pleased to join forces with Lineage Logistics, UDIM, Flagstar Foundation and other corporate partners in providing support to the non-profit as it executes additional services during this critical time.”

Pistons owner Tom Gores and Mr. Tellem have rallied partners in collaboration with Wayne County to secure funding resources that will aid Forgotten Harvest in covering additional costs for food acquisition, supplies, storage and delivery in response to the current crisis. With children no longer in school and businesses closing as the region practices social distancing, Forgotten Harvest estimates that the number of families it services has increased 45 percent since the crisis began and food acquisition and disbursement needs have doubled.

The Pistons and their corporate partners are deploying financial support to help facilitate the non-profit’s immediate needs while using their platform to rally and inspire additional support from businesses and individuals throughout the region. Donations of support can be placed by visiting https://www.forgottenharvest.org/corona/.

“We are appreciative of the Detroit Pistons and their corporate partners for continued support of our community,” said Kirk Mayes, CEO of Forgotten Harvest. “The COVID-19 crisis is affecting our community in a number of ways and impacting individuals and families on multiple social and economic fronts. The additional financial support during this crisis will ensure families, children and seniors are guaranteed a supply of heathy food throughout this difficult time.”

Forgotten Harvest rescued approximately 46 million pounds of food in 2019-20 by collecting surplus prepared and perishable food from over 800 sources. The food is loaded onto mobile pantries that serve over 250 partner sites in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth programs and community centers.

Over 584,000 people face hunger in metro Detroit, equating to one of every five individuals. Since 2000, Forgotten Harvest has rescued over 400 million pounds of food at 800 food donor locations. The food is donated by farms, manufacturers, dairies, food distributors and grocers and distributed free of charge.

Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans, who is also a Forgotten Harvest Board member, lauded the efforts by the County and the Pistons to rally support among partners and secure funding for the initiative.

“We have people in need throughout the County and region, and it’s critical for us all to come together to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19,” Evans said. “I applaud the Pistons, their corporate partners and Commission Chairwoman Alisha Bell for their work on this effort. They are stepping up in a big way so that no one goes hungry during this crisis.”

Novi-based Lineage Logistics (“Lineage”), the world’s largest and most innovative provider of temperature-controlled food logistics, is a long-time strategic partner of Forgotten Harvest, a Feeding America member food bank, and views this project with the Detroit Pistons as a natural fit and the beginning of a larger relationship in the future.

“The devastation caused by COVID-19 means that Lineage’s services are in extreme demand as we work to keep food on the shelves in communities across the United States,” said Greg Lehmkuhl, Lineage’s President & CEO. “In the face of this crisis, we are proud to be able join the Detroit Pistons and assist Forgotten Harvest on the front lines in the metro Detroit region to ensure families have food to eat.”

Executives from United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) and Flagstar Foundation noted that combining forces with the Detroit Pistons creates greater mobilization of resources and a larger impact on the community.

“Representing Michigan diary farmers, UDIM has supported local food banks for many years and Forgotten Harvest is an organization doing great work in the community,” said Sharon Toth, CEO, MPH, RDN for UDIM. “As a partner of the Detroit Pistons we are grateful to participate on this project and provide additional support during this critical time.”

“From the beginning, our partnership with the Detroit Pistons has had a strong community component through the youth game of Math Hoops, which is sponsored by Flagstar Bank,” said Beth Correa, president of the Flagstar Foundation. “This is another way for us to leverage that partnership to address the vital need for food that so many in metro Detroit are experiencing in this unprecedented time. We are grateful to be able to help and join the other corporate partners in doing so.”

The Detroit Pistons have supported Forgotten Harvest with funding and operational support on multiple projects since 2008. In addition to partnering on Thanksgiving holiday events that provide support to Detroiters in need, funding grants have covered the cost, maintenance and operation of two brand new single-axel “Mobile Pantry” delivery trucks – part of a 35-truck fleet that travels over 400,000 miles a year rescuing food throughout Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Joining a rescue team of over 15,000 people throughout the region, Pistons Sports & Entertainment employees also take part in “volunteer days” at Forgotten Harvest headquarters.

The latest funding grant to Forgotten Harvest is an additional mechanism in which the organization is supporting the metro Detroit community during the COVID-19 crisis. The Pistons have made the new Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center available to state government officials as a place to house health care professionals or COVID-19 patients if designated. Additionally, Mr. Gores announced that all Pistons employees, including hourly and part-time Pistons staff who support game day activities at Little Caesars Arena, will be paid during the NBA’s postponement of games.

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