Michigan is Hungry

By: Kurt Buesching | March 22, 2012

As many of us worry how to drop those few extra pounds, there is an astonishing number of people that struggle just to maintain the few that they have.  Approximately 4 million people in Michigan live at risk of going hungry every day.  The hungry are not limited to those who are homeless; hunger applies to anyone who is unable to obtain enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs.  Every year 96 billion pounds of food is wasted in our country, the majority of which ends up landfills.  Forgotten Harvest, started in 1990, is a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting hunger and waste across the Detroit Metropolitan Area, covering Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.  What Forgotten Harvest aims to do is intercept that would be wasted food and deliver it to those in need, rather than it taking up space in landfills.

The organization operates as a wholesale food provider, utilizing 33 refrigerated trucks to pick up surplus food and drop it off to emergency food providers, often in the same day.  Drivers are trained in food safety and know how to select/handle perishable food.  Food is picked up from several sources, including restaurants, grocery stores and entertainment venues, throughout the 2,000 square mile tri-county area.  Forgotten Harvest supplies food, at no cost, to over 245 emergency food providers across Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, including Salvation Army, Michigan Veterans Foundations as well as local churches.  It is the only food rescue operation in Metro Detroit as well as being the largest food rescue operation in the country.  And the organization continues to expand its reach.  With 55 new agencies added to the delivery routes and Forgotten Harvest Canada now in operation, the organization has taken on an international role in helping provide for the hungry.

Forgotten Harvest is doing an amazing job helping people across the Metro Detroit area, but they still need all the help they can get.  Volunteers and donations, monetary and equipment, are extremely valuable contributions that are necessary for the organization to continue its outreach in the community.  John Owens, Director of Communications, wants people to know that “for every $1 they donate, Forgotten Harvest is able to provide 4 meals to people in need”.  And if people want to help out in a more hands-on fashion, there is always food to be sorted and repackaged for individuals and families in need.  The organization can accommodate volunteers on an individual basis or a corporate group of 50-75 people.  For more information about volunteering at Forgotten Harvest you can go online and visit their website at www.forgottenharvest.org or call Krista Poole at (248)967-1500 x.114.  You can also visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/forgottenharvest.

The hunger issue in the Metro Detroit area is a serious problem but it’s one that we have the power to fix.  So, during a summer filled with barbecues and picnics please don’t forget to set aside some time or a dollar or two and make a difference in someone’s life by not letting them go hungry.