Chrysler Foundation Funded After School Reading Program Provides Students With Nourishment for Body and Mind


Detroit Public Library, Forgotten Harvest and The Chrysler Foundation Partner to Feed Hungry Young Minds

DETROIT--Sept. 4, 2013: It is widely recognized that children cannot concentrate and learn when they're hungry.

In response, the Detroit Public Library (DPL), Forgotten Harvest and The Chrysler Foundation have partnered to provide free nutritious snacks to school-aged children who attend after school reading programs at DPL sites throughout the city.

"This partnership enables DPL librarians to combat hunger in the city of Detroit for those most vulnerable, our children, through the distribution of healthy food, thereby enhancing their chances to benefit from the literacy programs provided by the Detroit Public Library," said Patrice Merritt, executive director, Detroit Public Library Friends Foundation.

Food for Thought The idea for the program evolved after a series of unrelated meetings between representatives of The Chrysler Foundation, the Detroit Public Library and Forgotten Harvest.

"When Patrice (Merritt) explained that children in their reading program often suffered from poor attention due to the lack of adequate nutrition, I knew there was an opportunity for the three organizations to work together and make a difference for children in Detroit," said Brian Glowiak, vice president – The Chrysler Foundation. Coincidentally, Glowiak had met with Susan Goodell, president and CEO – Forgotten Harvest, a week earlier to get an update on their operations.

Initially, The Chrysler Foundation provided Forgotten Harvest with a grant to source, prepare and deliver a nutritious lunches for the final sessions of the 2012 summer reading program. Following the successful pilot, The Chrysler Foundation increased its support in 2013 to $74,000 in order to provide lunches for the summer reading program and snacks for the after school reading program.

In recent years, according to Merritt, participation in the summer reading program has been stagnant. However, due in part to the lunch program, the number of children participating increased in 2013 to 6,598 – up 23 percent from 2012. And while the further impact on families has not been measured, Merritt said that the number of children accompanied by a parent or adult also has increased and that it's not uncommon for them to take part in the food program too. In total, 11,000 lunches were served over a 10-week period this summer.

"It is difficult for children or adults, for that matter, to concentrate and learn when they are hungry," said Susan Goodell. "Our partnership with the Detroit Public Library and The Chrysler Foundation provides an ideal opportunity to provide nourishing food to hungry children, which ideally will enhance their chances to learn and grow." For years, Forgotten Harvest has made it a top priority to target their services to children.

After School Snacks This week, as students return to school, the reading program will shift from providing lunch to providing after school snacks. During the 2013-2014 school year, more than 2,000 snacks per week will be distributed to children at 20 library branch locations. Typically, snacks are comprised of fruit, a drink, and a nutritious item such as yogurt.

"Our librarians see hunger daily in our branches and understand that an after school snack may be for some the last meal of the day," stated Lurine Carter, Coordinator of Children's Services at the Detroit Public Library.

The snacks also are available to children on days when Detroit Public Schools are closed and during special DPL-sponsored programs.

For more information about the Detroit Public Library After School Reading program, please contact one of the following branches:

Bowen, 3648 W. Vernor (313) 481-1540

Conley, 4600 Martin (313) 481-1590

Campbell, 8733 W. Vernor (313) 481-1550

Chandler Park, 12800 Harper (313) 481-1563

Chase, 17731 W. Seven Mile Rd. (313) 481-1580

Chaney, 16101 Grand River (313) 481-1570

Douglass, 3666 Grand River (313) 481-1703

Duffield, 2507 W. Grand Blvd. (313) 481-1710

Edison, 18400 Joy Rd. (313) 481-1720

Elmwood Park, 550 Chene (313) 481-1731

Franklin, 13651 E. McNichols (313) 481-1741

Hubbard, 12929 W. McNichols (313) 481-1752

Jefferson, 12350 E. Outer Dr. (313) 481-1760

Knapp, 13330 Conant (313) 481-1773

Parkman, 1766 Oakman Blvd. (313) 481-1812

Redford, 21200 Grand River (313) 481-1820

Sherwood Forest, 7117 W. Seven Mile Rd. (313) 481-1843

Skillman, 121 Gratiot (313) 481-1853

Wilder, 7140 E. Seven Mile Rd. (313) 481-1873

Main Library, 5201 Woodward Ave.

Children's Library (313) 481-1408 and Teen HYPE Center (313) 481-1360

Since Chrysler Group LLC was formed in 2009, The Chrysler Foundation and the Company have provided more than $6.7 million in charitable donations and multi-year commitments to organizations/programs located in Detroit.

"Chrysler has always believed in Detroit," said Jody Trapasso, Vice President External Affairs – Chrysler Group LLC and President of The Chrysler Foundation. "We will continue to devote our time, talents and innovative spirit to help ensure a bright future for its residents."

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