Make Food Not Waste organizes hundreds of meals for Detroiters

click to enlarge Chef Le’Genevieve Squires prepares holiday meals  at Marygrove College. - Make Food Not Waste
Make Food Not Waste
Chef Le’Genevieve Squires prepares holiday meals at Marygrove College.

The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the scourge that is food insecurity for millions of Americans. These needs are especially real for many metro Detroiters.

This year, many local food programs are noting that their programs have seen an exponential increase in numbers of people that they are serving, some by at least twice the previous year.

A 2017 report by the Detroit Food Policy Council and the Detroit Health Department found that 48% of the city’s households are food insecure, with more than 40% of households that rely on food stamps.

However, the face of food insecurity has changed. Suburban cities like Sterling Heights are also seeing an increased demand at food banks.

Within the city, a local nonprofit is going into overdrive during the holidays. Make Food Not Waste is leading a team of chefs who have prepared 200 family meals that will serve 1,000 Detroiters. In addition, 500 breakfast and 500 dessert kits will be distributed.

“The problems we are facing now are much bigger than any one of us can solve,” Danielle Todd, executive director of Make Food Not Waste, said in a statement. “These meals prepared by local Detroit’s chefs are meant to bring a moment of happiness and sustenance that families can enjoy together during the holidays.”

In October, the Detroit Food Policy Council (DFPC) received a $1 million grant and launched Food Secure Detroit with at least eight nonprofit organizations to address food insecurity in the short and long term. The program is a direct outcome of the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities that was created by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in April. The task force, chaired by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, focused on the disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 cases in the African American community. At the time, 40 percent of the COVID-19 deaths were African Americans.

Partners in the project include the Marygrove Conservancy, where local chefs used the facilities of the former college to prepare the meal kits.

Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church, Hungry Harvest, Food Rescue US Detroit, Soil2Service and National Food Group have all partnered. Local chefs who are part of the project include Ederique Goudia, Shay Goudia, LeGenevieve Squires, Azzezah Ford, and Phil Jones-who, has been cooking meals for families affected by COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to their mission statement, Make Food Not Waste helps inspire home cooks to waste less and create lasting solutions for wasted food. More information can be found at

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Biba Adams

Biba Adams is a Detroit-based national freelance writer. Her work has been featured in Visit Detroit, Model D, VIBE, and more. She is currently working on her debut book, Scenes From a Renaissance: Detroit Hip-Hop 1996-2006.
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