Heartside Gleaning empowers Heartside and surrounding communities to become healthier through increased access to healthy food and nutrition education.
The Heartside community encompasses one of the central districts in the downtown Grand Rapids area. Stretching east for several blocks along the Grand River from Wealthy St. to Fulton St. Heartside contains a diverse collection of parks, residencies, businesses, mixed use buildings, and commercial and industrial space. Almost 38% of the Heartside population is non-white with over 24% being African American and 7.5% being Hispanic or Latino. In addition, there are four homeless shelters within the Heartside community.
Roosevelt Park neighborhood is a densely populated area with a commercial corridor surrounded by heavy industry. It runs south from Wealthy St. to Burton St. along the U.S. 131 corridor. The population is largely Hispanic or Latino (>75%), 63% are below 150% of the poverty line, and there is 13.1% unemployment.
The SWAN and John Ball Park neighborhoods on the west side of Grand Rapids run along Market Street north from Wealthy St. to Bridge St. This is a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood with a large influx of college students leading to greatly increased rental rates. The longer term residents face high rates of poverty with 12% unemployment and there is a large Hispanic/Latino population here.
Heartside Gleaning was formed to help low-income and people experiencing homelessness in the Heartside community improve their health. The Heartside neighborhood, located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, has an unemployment rate of 11.7% with over 35% of the population living below the poverty line. High poverty levels and low access to quality, healthy food has led to the Heartside community being labeled as a “food desert”, where residents lack access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. Because of the high poverty level and low access to food, many residents of the Heartside community rely on soup kitchens and food pantries for their daily food intake, where much of the food provided has historically been low in nutrients and high in calories. Since forming in 2013, Heartside Gleaning has expanded into additional neighborhoods with similar needs and challenges to fresh food access.
Food insecurity is associated with lower dietary quality, including a lower consumption of fruits and vegetables. Moreover, poor diet quality with limited fresh fruit and vegetable intake has been shown to increase the incidence of many chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and many cancers. In predominantly lower-income and minority neighborhoods in the U.S. there is typically less access to fresh fruits and vegetables and greater access to unhealthy food. Residents of the Heartside neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Michigan, with high rates of homelessness, poverty, and food insecurity, exemplify these characteristics with one study finding as many as 70% of the population has some degree of food insecurity and almost 50% experience very low food security.
Many individuals and organizations have offered their support to our mission.
In 2022 the Greater Wyoming Community Resource Alliance provided support to expand our programming to provide lean protein (eggs and beans) to Good Food Box recipients at Puertas Abiertas. We also received additional support from Trinity Health Saint Mary's and Trinity Lutheran Church to double the number of households to whom we provide fresh produce and to add lean protein for these recipients as well.
The following are a few of our supporters:
Empowering Heartside and surrounding communities to become healthier through increased access to healthy food and nutrition education
Heartside Gleaning P.O Box 603 Ada, MI 49301 Info@HeartsideGleaning.org
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