Feeding the hungry in the 'Comeback City'

Aug 24, 2012

According to the US Department of Agriculture, 96 billion pounds of food goes to waste each year in this country – one-quarter of all food produced. Meanwhile, with the economy still faltering in many parts of the country, a record number of people are turning to emergency feeding programs nationwide.

Forgotten Harvest was founded 22 years ago by a Detroit woman, who had once stood in a food line, and who envisioned a remarkably simple solution to fighting hunger: rescuing surplus, prepared, and perishable food and donating it to emergency food providers. 

In its 2011- 2012 fiscal year alone, the organization rescued more than 41 million pounds of food – a 78 percent increase over the prior year – from Detroit grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, dairies, farmers, wholesale food distributors and other health department approved sources.

Bank of America has not only honored Forgotten Harvest with its Neighborhood Builder award but also provided supplementary financial and volunteer support over the years.

“In metro Detroit, more than 726,000 people are in need,” said Susan Goodell, Forgotten Harvest’s president and CEO. “That means nearly one in five people here are hungry. We have a real passion for finding solutions, and appreciate the generous financial and volunteer support from Bank of America to help make this place run. The bank’s volunteers are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and help. I love and appreciate their passion for our mission.”

With Bank of America’s support, Forgotten Harvest now has the ability to expand its food reserves, and to rescue food from additional providers. The food that otherwise would have been wasted is picked up by a fleet of 34 donated trucks, six days a week – and donated free of charge to 250 emergency food providers in the metro Detroit area, covering 2,000-square miles. Individuals served are as diverse as the community’s residents – young and old, all races and faiths.

“It has been such a privilege to lead our volunteers to this worthy organization,” said Susan Cole, an associate at Bank of America who also serves as Michigan Chairman for Volunteer Activity for the bank. “Volunteering and supporting organizations like Forgotten Harvest builds stronger communities. It’s about helping neighbors, and I’m proud that Bank of America believes in this worthy cause and the immense good that it does for our region.”

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