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Healthy food for Detroit neighborhoods at just the right time

The crew at Brilliant Detroit works to distribute food from Eastern Market to families in the Osborn and Springwells neighborhoods of Detroit.

By Marti Benedetti for Crain’s Content Studio

When struggling families in two Detroit neighborhoods received healthy meal deliveries in early April, local farmers benefited, too.

The Children’s Foundation, the state’s largest funder dedicated solely to children’s health and wellness has dispersed more than 20 emergency grants since March through its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The funding is designed to support children and families by providing for essential needs such as food, diaper and formula purchases and by supporting  technology that will help transition health and wellness services online..

One of those grants allowed Eastern Market Corp. to feed families in Detroit’s Springwells and Osborn neighborhoods that are served by Brilliant Detroit, a nonprofit focused on helping young families through hubs in the city’s neighborhoods. The coordinated effort resulted in more than 100 families receiving meals.

“Fresh food came to their houses in a time of desperation,” said Tracy Rivard, chief development officer for Eastern Market. The food, made from ingredients harvested by local farmers, came with recipes and was boxed with safety measures. It included fruit, vegetables and items like beans and rice.

Meanwhile, Brilliant Detroit collaborated with Bobby Nahra, chef and owner of Encore Catering in St. Clair Shores, to provide $5,000 worth of food for 90 families in Springwells, also funded by The Children’s Foundation. “Much of it was kid-friendly, including ravioli, cheese tortellini and chicken,” Nahra said. Food was cooked and refrigerated. When delivered, it came with instructions on how to prepare and heat properly.

“This is a great example of The Children’s Foundation‘s ability to immediately impact children and families while engaging several of our partners,” said Lawrence J. Burns, president and CEO of The Children’s Foundation. “This collaboration also supported a small business and chef Bobby Nahra during this time of crisis. It is a win-win-win situation.”

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