Members of DTE volunteered at The Farm at Trinity Health Ann Arbor on Tuesday, Nov. 15, to help pack boxes with 467 shares of food – totaling 4,771 pounds of fresh, local produce and 2,162 pantry items.

DTE’s donated time follows their generous philanthropic gift of more than $14,000 for The Farms at Trinity Health Ann Arbor and Trinity Health Oakland to provide Farm Shares at no cost to individuals and families in need of nutrition security. The packed boxes were double the size of an average Farm Share and will help ensure the families receiving them have a healthy Thanksgiving meal. 

“This generous and kind support from DTE is putting healthy, nutritious food on the tables of people who need it most,” said Amanda Sweetman, Trinity Health Michigan, Regional Director of Farming and Healthy Lifestyles. “We continually work to expand our food assistance through our Farm Shares Program, and that would not be possible without partners like DTE.  Thanks to this gift, we were able to call people on our Farm Shares waiting list and inform them they would be receiving weekly boxes of fall Farm Shares, including extra helpings for Thanksgiving.”

The Farms Shares program is provided three times each year – during the spring, summer and fall growing seasons – at The Farms at Trinity Health Ann Arbor and Oakland. Participants sign up to receive a box or bag of fresh, local produce once per week for 12 weeks. The cost for a full Fall 2022 Farm Share was $300. Philanthropic support makes it possible for the Farm Shares Program to serve a dual purpose as one of The Farms’ food assistance programs by providing the shares for free to individuals and families facing nutrition insecurity.

In 2021, The Farms at Trinity Health Ann Arbor and Oakland served more than 570 Farm Share members, providing them with 10,000 boxes of nutritious, local, fresh produce. This included 120 members facing food insecurity who received shares for free. 

According to a Food Price Outlook report by the USDA, “In 2022, all food prices are predicted to increase between 9.5 and 10.5 percent.” The report went on to say, fresh vegetable prices had reached a 9.2 percent increase between September 2021 and September 2022.

“The rising cost of food has been especially challenging for the communities surrounding The Farms at Trinity Health Ann Arbor and Oakland,” added Sweetman. 

The Farm Shares program is a collaborative effort. The Farms at Trinity Health Ann Arbor and Trinity Health Oakland work with 22 local farmers to aggregate produce grown on site with a wide variety of responsibly grown, local fruits and vegetables. Working together allows more available Farm Shares, a variety of produce and ability to support sustainable agriculture by creating additional revenue for the farmers. 

“DTE is proud to support The Farms at Trinity Health Ann Arbor and Trinity Health Oakland to provide members of our communities with affordable, nutritious and dependable food,” said Lynette Dowler, DTE vice president of Public Affairs. “The Farms’ community-based programs tie together our commitment to human needs, the environment and community transformation to make an impact with customers across our service territory.”  

DTE and the DTE Foundation are longtime supporters of Trinity Health and, together, have given more than $600,000 to help support the health and vibrancy of communities throughout Southeast Michigan. 

“We are grateful to DTE for giving through philanthropy and volunteer hours,” said Alonzo Lewis, president, Trinity Health Ann Arbor and Trinity Health Livingston. “A lack of nutritious food is one of the leading social influences on health – it is detrimental to a person’s physical and emotional well-being. DTE is helping us to create health equity and to deliver on our healing mission.”