You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Couple who met volunteering at Food Gatherers celebrate Valentine's Day with donation

By Lisa Carolin


Jim Lee, left, and Terri Wilkerson, are celebrating their Valentine's Day this year by each giving a donation to the Food Gatherers.

Photo by Mary Schlitt

Editor's note: The Wilkersons' names have been corrected in the photo caption accompanying this article.

How romantic can picking up old food be? Just ask Terri Wilkerson and Jim Lee who share a passion for it.

This Valentine's Day, Wilkerson and Lee are giving each other the same gift — a contribution to Food Gatherers' capital campaign to expand the warehouse. It's fitting for a couple who has supported Food Gatherers since the day they first met.

In the summer of 1995, both Wilkerson and Lee began volunteering at Food Gatherers every Monday morning as food-runners. They picked up and dropped off baked goods driving the Food Gatherers truck together.

They were a good team — in more ways than one, and on Oct. 19, 1996, the two volunteers were married. Now, more than 16 years later, they are the parents of a son, 14-year-old Spencer, and the couple is still volunteering at Food Gatherers.

"I first volunteered at Food Gatherers because I had a flexible work schedule and wanted to do something to eliminate food waste," said Lee. "We'd take the truck and drive around to local grocery stores and pick up day old breads and baked goods, some 2,000 pounds of it, every Monday morning."

"Sometimes we'd sort food at the warehouse and in later years we participated in Grillin' for Food Gatherers, the annual big fundraiser in June," said Wilkerson. "We continue to invite people to attend Grillin' so that they can get familiar with Food Gatherers too."

The couple agrees their shared interest in community service and willingness to get out and volunteer every Monday morning was an easy way to get to know each other.

Food Gatherers needs more volunteers now, particularly as food-runners and warehouse workers.

"We have a need for energetic volunteers who can take on physical tasks at our warehouse for 2- to 4-hour shifts, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9 a.m.-5 p.m." said Mary Schlitt, director of development and marketing for Food Gatherers.

Schlitt says that volunteers account for nearly 70 percent of all hours worked at Food Gatherers, which distributes an average of 9 tons of food (equal to roughly 15,000 meals) per day to partner agencies in Washtenaw County.

"Our 150 partner programs receive mostly free food, products donated through our affiliations with local and national food programs, which is supplemented with food that is purchased at discounted rates," said Schlitt.

Schlitt says that Food Gatherers is working on expanding the warehouse to increase the quantity of food available including more storage and freezer space.

"Gifts to the capital fund will facilitate the expansion of our current warehouse by 12,775 square feet to more than double our current distribution capacity and create more than 150 additional pallet spaces of cold and freezer storage," she said.

The warehouse is located at 1 Carrot Way, off Dhu Varren Road in Ann Arbor Charter Township. For information on volunteering, email



Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:19 a.m.

Congratulations Jim and Terri! A great couple supporting a great organization. Lots of love came out of that old slaughterhouse. Many good men and women have found the love of their lives there, including those three brothers who met their brides back in the '90's. Food Gatherers = Love.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

Dumpster Divers Needed!

John Hritz

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 6:20 p.m.

Congratulations to you both!!

Gretchen Ridenour

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

Jim and Terri, you both are role models as volunteers in the community and your congregation. Happy Valentine's Day.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

That's a terrific story.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

Sweet story. Terri Wilkerson is a real estate agent and helped us buy our first home as a young couple; she was AWESOME as an agent and is a great person to boot. 18 years later, we are in the same house and still love it. We never would be here without Terri.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

Typo in captions and photo credit - it's "Jim Lee"


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

So there's a typo, big deal!

Paula Gardner

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

Fixed. Thank you - and apologies to Jim.

music to my ear

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

oh dog. leave them lovers alone jim tim. who cares they are in love and helping mankind


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 11:30 a.m.