The Gleaning Initiative is a Non-Profit organization in the Grand Rapids community. Every Saturday afternoon, their team of volunteers collects produce donated by farmers who attend the Downtown and Fulton Street farmers markets in downtown Grand Rapids. After collecting the produce they distribute it throughout the Heartside Community at food pantries and low income housing. While attending the Gleaning Initiative volunteer opportunities as a group we have observed how the Initiative could reach more people in the community.

Throughout our research we found the need for fresh produce in daycare centers located in communities declared as food deserts. Kids are not receiving the proper nutrition because of the lack of access to healthy foods. Additionally, the centers are unable to afford to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables because of the cost. Our attention has been mainly focused on the Hill Child Development Center. Our goal is to incorporate donated produce from the Gleaning Initiative into the meals served by the Hill Child Development Center day care staff.

Through a series of collaborators, we opened the lines of communications between the Heartside Gleaning Initiative and daycare centers in the area. We highlighted a series of recommendations to make distribution to the daycare center part of the regular route for the 2015 gleaning season. We hope this project will continue to increase the amount of people the Gleaning Initiative reaches each year. Our group would also like to see children in the Heartside community get the proper nutrition they need to prevent obesity or any other health risk they could face.