The Chrysler Foundation and Chrysler Group LLC Bridge the Hunger Gap, Provide Funding and Volunteers to Fill Backpacks with Nutritious Food

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The Chrysler Foundation and Chrysler Group LLC Bridge the Hunger Gap, Provide Funding and Volunteers to Fill Backpacks with Nutritious Food

Backpack Program Aims to Feed Detroit-Area Children during Summer Weekends
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Chrysler Group LCC's Weekend Backpacks Feed Hungry Detroit-Area Children


  • 1 in 5 Michigan children struggle to access nutritious food
  • Chrysler Group employees fill 12,000 backpacks with nutritious food – creating 72,000 meals – for hungry children
  • Backpacks available July 27 - August 31 at select Detroit Summer Food Service Program sites
Friday, July 27, 2012 - 2:35pm

CAMPAIGN: Community and Education

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BL Media) Auburn Hills, MI - July 27, 2012 - This week, Chrysler Group LLC employees turned part of its Auburn Hills headquarters into an assembly line to help hungry children in Detroit. Over a two-day period (July 23-24) employees rolled up their sleeves and formed a human assembly line to fill 12,000 weekend backpacks (nylon draw-string bags) with nutritious food for children who are at risk of hunger and malnutrition this summer.

As part of their ongoing effort to fight against the epidemic of childhood hunger that has plagued the region in recent years, The Chrysler Foundation, Chrysler Group LLC and United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM) have partnered with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan to bridge the hunger gap and create greater awareness and access to summer food programs.  According to Gleaners, only 13 percent of Detroit area children, who are eligible for free or reduced meals at school, participate in summer food programs. On the weekends, when summer food programs are not available, children often go without meals.

Each Friday, beginning July 27 and continuing through August 31, Gleaners will distribute the weekend backpacks at 35 select Summer Food Service Program sites throughout Detroit. In addition to the meals served at the sites, children will receive a backpack that contains sliced peaches, cut green beans, beef ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, raisin bran cereal and shelf stable milk – enough food for about six meals. The total cost of the food, $60,000, was underwritten by The Chrysler Foundation; and Chrysler Group provided the bags and volunteers to assemble the backpacks.

“We are proud to partner with the United Way and Gleaners Food Bank to help meet this pressing need in the fight against childhood hunger,” said Jody Trapasso, President – The Chrysler Foundation. “We hope the Weekend Backpack program also helps nourish our children’s dreams for a bright future.”

In 2011, Gleaners provided food to approximately 21,500 children whose families struggled to afford groceries.

“I’m deeply grateful to Chrysler for stepping up in a big way to help feed hungry children,” says W. DeWayne Wells, President – Gleaners. “More than 315,000 kids in metro Detroit rely on school meals. When these kids are home during the summer, our pantry partners see a huge uptick in families seeking help with putting food on the table. Chrysler’s generous gift will allow Gleaners to provide thousands of backpacks of nutritious food to children, keeping them happy, not hungry, this summer.”

Partnership with the United Way of Southeastern Michigan

"Ending childhood hunger in Michigan is a top priority, and I want to thank everyone at Chrysler for their ongoing commitment and support,” said Michael J. Brennan, President and CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “By working together, I know we will meet our goal of making sure that Michigan’s children succeed in school and in life.” Brennan continued, “Success begins with access to healthy and nutritious meals—because kids who are hungry cannot focus on learning. By simply dialing three digits, 2-1-1, callers will be connected to United Way’s Call Center and obtain information about Summer Meals sites anywhere in Michigan.”

Additional Initiatives

Support of The Weekend Backpack program is just one of several initiatives that Chrysler Group has undertaken to increase awareness about the Summer Meals Programs across Southeast Michigan this summer. The Company has also called upon its more than 62,200 employees to do their part to end childhood hunger.  Employees and the public can go to the United Way web site ( to sign a pledge and volunteer for food-related community service activities or gather food donations at the company’s Southeastern Michigan facilities.

Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO is serving as this year’s UWSEM campaign chair. In this role, his primary responsibility is to promote growth, fundraising and educational efforts for the campaign throughout the community. Ending child hunger in Michigan is one of UWSEM’s biggest goals in partnership with a national nonprofit, Share Our Strength, and the State of Michigan. These organizations have joined together to create the Michigan No Kid Hungry initiative. The program is designed to connect more children to free, nutritious school and summer meal programs.

About Gleaners Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan (Gleaners)

Founded in 1977, Gleaners is one of the oldest and largest food banks in the country. Today it distributes more than 40 million pounds of emergency food annually, equivalent to 85,284 meals per day. Headquartered in Detroit, Gleaners operates a total of five distribution centers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties, which provide food to over 600 partner soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and other agencies throughout southeastern Michigan. Of every dollar donated, Gleaners uses 94 cents for food and food programs. One dollar provides three meals for a hungry neighbor. Learn more at

About United Way for Southeastern Michigan

United Way for Southeastern Michigan mobilizes the caring power of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties to improve lives in measurable and lasting ways throughout the region. The organization is led by a diverse group of volunteers from business, labor, government, human services, education and the community. United Way provides opportunities to invest in the metropolitan Detroit community through its annual Campaign and is a leader in convening partners to impact local residents each year by increasing economic self-sufficiency, protecting children and youth at risk, strengthening families, empowering neighborhoods and communities, and promoting health and wellness. Additional information is available at

About The Chrysler Foundation

During the past 59 years, The Chrysler Foundation has established a proud legacy of enriching the physical, educational and cultural needs of local communities in which Chrysler Group LLC conducts business. Chrysler employees also have a strong commitment to helping improve their communities by volunteering their time and talents in the places where we live and work.

The Chrysler Foundation embodies the values of the Company and its employees and, since its inception, has awarded more than $500 million in charitable grants.


Additional information and news from Chrysler Group LLC is available at


Kevin Frazier
+1 (248) 821-8507
Corporate Communications, Chrysler Group LLC
Rachelle Bonelli
+1 (313) 570-3474
Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan
Laura Rodwan
United Way for Southeastern Michigan
313-477-2750 (cell) or
Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Detroit | Free Food Programs | Volunteerism & Community Engagement | childhood hunger

CAMPAIGN: Community and Education

CONTENT: Press Release