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Plymouth Whalers take a shift at Gleaners to feed the hungry

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PLYMOUTH - Most mornings, the older Plymouth Whalers not in school report to Compuware Arena to skate or perform off-ice training at 10 am.

This morning, the Whalers put in a little sweat equity away from the rink to help the hungry.

Whalers Colin MacDonald, Nick Malysa, Curtis Crombeen, Austin Levi, Rickard Rakell, Simon Karlsson and Alex Aleardi – along with Plymouth staff members Denise Ronayne, John Karasinski and Pete Krupsky – packed boxes with canned goods and non-perishable food items for the Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan at their Livingston Distribution Center, located in Howell.

The Whalers formed an efficient assembly line, with each member in the line packing two or three cans for food in a box until it was filled.

“48 (boxes) times five (pallets),” said Dave Bell, Gleaners Food Distribution Coordinator, with a smile. “The Whalers were faster than most in two hours. We appreciate the effort.”

“We’re so glad to utilize the Whalers’ hard work off the ice for packing boxes for families in need,” said Michelle Ounanian, Programs Coordinator for Gleaners. “The meals they boxed today are going toward holiday meals, so families won’t miss out on their holiday experience, because they couldn’t afford the food that usually goes with it.”

According to Ounanian, Gleaners provides 45 million meals annually for hungry people through Southeastern Michigan.

“During the holidays, it’s a special time, with people thinking about their neighbors,” Ounanian said. “We like to utilize anyone to help out in different ways – donate their food, their time, their funds for food – in order to incorporate them into our mission and help feed families in need.”

The boxes packed by the Whalers will be distributed by the Salvation Army during the holidays to families in need.

The Whalers and Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan formed a partnership last summer, with Gleaners supporting the Whalers annual Alumni Game on August 4.

Closer to home, the Whalers are working on a food drive for Gleaners this weekend in hosting Saginaw on Friday and Oshawa on Saturday at Compuware Arena to help the hungry. Fans are encouraged to bring five cans of food to the game. Fans who donate the food will be entered in a raffle with the chance to win prizes, including a $500 Meijer Gift Card.

For more on the raffle, please check out www.plymouthwhalers.com.

For more about Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, please go online to http://www.gcfb.org/

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