Food And Drinks

Holiday season doesn’t abolish food insecurity in Detroit


As a chef, I am surrounded by two things – food and people. If our current times have shown me anything, I have the privilege of serving my community. Whenever I distribute food, I make an effort not only to feed Detroiters, but to offer a meal that comforts them. As we watch Giving Tuesday (December 1st), I ask you to take action to combat hunger in our city.

According to a 2019 report by the Detroit Food Policy Council, 39% of Detroit households were food unsafe. During the pandemic, food insecurity in Detroit has increased dramatically due to lost income or families faced with the difficult decision of choosing between critical bills such as transportation, medication, or food.

More than ever, it’s important to support the efforts of a local food organization this holiday season when the effects of hunger are felt more strongly. My team of volunteer chefs, in partnership with the Horatio Williams Foundation, has donated more than 100,000 meals to families in need in Detroit. Without the work of our team, it would be impossible for many to get food independently, even though so many take a well-rounded celebration for granted.

Before the pandemic, one in seven Detroiters struggled with hunger. These are the people I have been humiliated and fortunate enough to serve. The pandemic has shone brightly on how many people are living from paycheck to paycheck or unable to survive on their savings. Food banks and other nonprofits are stretched thin, and we must do our part.

This Tuesday, year round, we urge Detroiters to support local nonprofits in their mission to support the community by:

►Give yourself time. Help with nonprofits in your community. Learn about the organizations’ current needs and make a difference in your community.

Donate money or food. Donations and government funds support many non-profit organizations. Additional funding or product support can go a long way.

► Tell a friend, family member, or local officer. Use your voice to share the mission of your local nonprofits. Let others know about current issues in your community and what they can do to help.

►Supporting companies that work with non-profit organizations. For major purchases, look for companies with major corporate social responsibility programs.

► Offer your expertise. Reach out to local nonprofits to offer your expertise in volunteering.

My fight against food insecurity will not stop after the pandemic. To combat hunger on a large scale, we must all work together and pool our efforts. To learn more about how you can help our mission to feed Detroiters, please visit the Horatio Williams Foundation.

Max Hardy is the owner and head chef of COOP Detroit and the founder of the nonprofit One Chef Can 86 Hunger, a nonprofit working to raise awareness and fight the hunger epidemic in America.


Dusty Kennedy