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Paying It Forward

Macomb County Golden Grizzlies generously donate to annual food drive

Oakland University student in gray sweatshirt with a golden grizzly head on the front hold cans of food at food drive
Oakland University student in gray sweatshirt with a golden grizzly head on the front hold cans of food at food drive in Macomb County
A woman donates a cans of food to Oakland University students at a canned food drive in Macomb
Oakland University faculty, students and staff in black golden grizzly sweatshirts stand behind a table overflowing with canned food in celebration of exceeding their food drive goal in Macomb County

Holiday Help

icon of a calendarFeb 6, 2018

icon of a pencilBy Patrick Dunn

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When Kim Jones, SEHS '15, lost her job, her neighbors in Macomb County connected her to a local food pantry for assistance. The act of kindness was a life-changing moment that helped Jones get back on her feet. Now, as a dedicated volunteer at OU’s annual food drive to benefit the Macomb Food Program, she does her part to pay that kindness forward each year.

The food drive, commencing in mid-November at the Macomb County Santa Parade in Mount Clemens, collected 800 pounds of food this year, surpassing the drive's goal that day by 300 pounds.

"That small-town attitude is still in me," says Jones, who received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. "If I see a neighbor who needs help, I'm going to help."

By the end of the month, Golden Grizzlies who brought donations to the OU Anton/Frankel Center in Mount Clemens and Macomb University Center in Clinton Township exceeded the food drive’s second goal of 1,000 pounds with a total collection of 1,175 pounds--nearly triple the 394 pounds collected in last year's food drive.

"We’re such a big community, so there should always be a good turnout," says OU student Megan Smith, a volunteer at the food drive. "There are so many people who need our help."

The collected food provides "immediate relief" to a network of more than 50 Macomb County hunger relief organizations, explains Shannon Malloy, program manager for the Macomb Food Program.

"The donated food goes directly to the shelves of our pantry partners and then into the hands of those in need of food and facing the pain of hunger," she says.

A community party was held on Nov. 29 at the Anton/Frankel Center in celebration of the drive’s success. Mayor of Mount Clemens, Barb Dempsey, joined the event and presented OU executive director of Macomb County Outreach Julie Dichtel with a silver sponsor award for OU’s support of the Santa Parade.

"OU strives to be a good community partner in Macomb County,” Dichtel says. “The parade and annual food drive is just one example of how OU provides opportunities for our students and alumni to engage with their university in the community where they live."

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