Johnson and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette joined the Food Bank Council of Michigan in promoting the campaign during an event at the Lansing City Market today. Schuette and his wife co-founded the annual effort in 1991.
“For 25 years, the Harvest Gathering campaign has seen the people of our great state stand together to not only feed the hungry but to bring them hope,” Johnson said. “Michigan families saw some dark days during those 25 years but Harvest Gathering has never let those families down. I want to thank everyone here today, from the people working the food banks to the truck drivers, sponsors and office workers, for keeping the momentum going.”
Johnson also praised Secretary of State staff for making the food drive so successful every year. Since 2011, Secretary of State offices have collected almost 30 tons of food donations. The Secretary of State portion of the Harvest Gathering campaign runs through Nov. 25 this year.
“Secretary of State offices throughout Michigan have provided vital outreach into local communities for this campaign,” said Phillip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “Michigan Harvest Gathering could not be celebrating this milestone year without the support of such dedicated partners in hunger relief.”
In Michigan, 16 percent of households struggle to put food on the table and 21 percent of children don’t know where their next meal will come from, according to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. The organization coordinates the program, which supplies the state’s regional food banks through donations of food and money. The regional food banks serve food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in every Michigan county.
In 2014, the entire Michigan Harvest Gathering campaign collected 386,922 pounds (193 tons) of food and more than $375,000. This year, the campaign’s goal is to collect enough food and funds for two million meals.
Nonperishable food items with a valid expiration date can be dropped off at any Secretary of State office.
Food items especially needed include: canned meats, dry beans, soups, beef stew, pasta products, peanut butter and tuna. Other items include baby food or formula, diapers, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. The Food Bank requests donors avoid items in glass, as they often break in transit. Financial donations may be made online at www.feedmichigan.org.