The Mercado food hub

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Grosse Pointe South’s aspiring National Honors Society (NHS) members participated in many different volunteer opportunities over this past summer to gain their service hours, one example being work at The Mercado Food Hub.

The Food Hub is located in Mexicantown in Southwest Detroit. It is a client choice pantry where low income families come to pick out food and other goods in a grocery store-style fashion.

Photo by Zach Heimbuch ’19

The Mercado primarily operates on the work done by volunteers, so any help is wanted and greatly appreciated, Agency Relations worker at Gleaner’s Food Bank and Mercado Food Hub volunteer leader Alma Perez said.

“We mainly use our volunteers to help stock the shelves with goods for low income families and participate in shopping with clients,” Perez said. “We really are creating an impact here in this community.”

This volunteer job provides the worker with a setting like no other. Volunteers get to work with low income families in the heart of Southwest Detroit, a true learning experience, volunteer David Langenburg ’19 said.

“I’ve learned that I take a lot of things in life for granted, I now find myself paying more attention to the little things,” Langenburg said. “I’m glad that I gave time here at The Mercado over the summer, for it has gave me a new perspective on those going through tough times.”

Though most of the younger volunteers are attending The Mercado in hopes of joining NHS, some do it just to make the world a better place, according to volunteer Isaiah Whitney.

“I come to The Mercado because I like to help people,” Whitney said. “Working here has helped me develop relationships with new people, I’ve learned how to work with others and handle bad situations before they get worse.”

According to Perez, The Mercado Food Hub is a great place to gain new social skills and learn about Southwest Detroit, all while giving time to those that really need it.

“Looking at the work we’re doing and the people we’re helping, I believe that overall, The Mercado has really made an impact on Southwest Detroit,” Perez said.

Anyone could end up hitting hard times, so it’s best to get out and start helping others, Whitney said.

“You never know when poverty will strike, everyone needs a helping hand from time to time,” Whitney said. “I devote my time to The Mercado Food Hub so hopefully I’ll be returned with a helping hand, if the tough times ever hit me.”

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