Harvest Gathering food drive goes virtual due to virus

The COVID-19 situation is forcing yet another annual event to alter its normal routine: the Michigan Harvest Gathering campaign to fight hunger in the state.

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson announced this week that all donations for the 2020 drive will be made virtually at www.FeedMichigan.org.

“As we celebrate 21 years of participation in this campaign, we’re adapting to the pandemic alongside food banks and other resources,” Benson said. “Instead of having you drop off food items at our branches, we encourage you to donate online and mention our offices when you make your donation. Even as we adjust to this new normal, donors are still able to put food on the table for their neighbors during a time of need.”

Michigan Harvest Gathering is an emergency food program that benefits Michigan families through the Food Bank Council of Michigan’s member food banks and more than 3,000 community agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. Through donations to this food and fundraising campaign, Michigan’s private businesses, foundations and nonprofit agencies have provided millions of emergency meals; every dollar donated helps provide five meals.

Due to COVID-19, many food banks are not accepting food donations this year, so the Food Bank Council of Michigan moved the Harvest Gathering campaign to a virtual-only giving opportunity.

Residents can include a specific Secretary of State branch office name or business area if they would like that team to receive credit for their donation. When customers donate funds, they also can indicate what foods they would like to buy with those donations, or they can provide a donation to be used as needed.

Before the pandemic, the food bank network distributed 2.6 million pounds of food each week. Since March, that average has increased to 4.5 million pounds of food a week, largely due to the effects of COVID-19 shutdowns. On top of that, the Food Bank Council anticipates the need to increase another 15% heading into this fall and winter.

The campaign started Monday and continues through Wednesday, Nov. 25. A 2020 Michigan Harvest Gathering Kickoff event has been set for 10 to 11 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday via Facebook Live.

For more information, go to www.FeedMichigan.org.


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