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    SOS branches participate in Harvest Gathering

    September 23, 1999


    Beginning Oct. 18, customers at any of the 178 Secretary of State branch offices will find Harvest Gathering collection boxes for canned goods and other nonperishable items to help feed the hungry.


    Secretary of State Candice S. Miller today announced that for the first time since the Harvest Gathering program began in 1991, collection boxes will be placed in Secretary of State branch offices. The Department of State is expanding its participation in the annual fall food drive, which takes place Oct. 18-29. The statewide program is supported by state government employees as well as other public and private organizations.


    "The statistics tell the story -- one in 10 Michigan residents needs assistance in getting food for themselves and their family," said Secretary Miller. "Michigan is truly blessed agriculturally, and Harvest Gathering provides a means to help share the state's bountiful harvest with those who are not so fortunate.


    "Department of State employees have given generously in the past, and I am pleased to announce we are increasing our efforts to encourage greater participation within the department and throughout Michigan," Secretary Miller concluded.


    During the two-week food drive, anyone wishing to donate can visit a Secretary of State branch office and place their items in the Harvest Gathering collection box. Pledge cards will also be available for those wishing to contribute money in lieu of food items.


    All Harvest Gathering proceeds are donated to the Food Bank Council of Michigan and its member agencies. Last year, more than 427,000 pounds of food and more than $353,000 were collected by public and private sources during the drive, with state government employees contributing approximately 25,000 pounds of food and $10,000.


    It is estimated that about one million Michigan residents will go hungry this year. The state has 12 regional food banks and more than 2,400 local agencies, such as senior centers, soup kitchens and pantries, which work to distribute millions of pounds of donated food and other items to those in need.


    Harvest Gathering was developed in 1991 by Senator Bill Schuette, then director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture, and his wife, Cynthia, to help combat hunger. To date, Michigan government employees, businesses and residents have given more than $2.2 million and collected 2.9 million pounds of food to feed the hungry.

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