A tradition of giving

SEPTEMBER 14, 2011Logo: Harvest Gathering

Secretary of State offices to collect food for state's neediest

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today announced that residents can donate nonperishable food items at local Secretary of State branch offices, continuing a long-standing tradition of giving to families in need.

Johnson kicked off the 21st annual Michigan Harvest Gathering campaign at the state Capitol alongside Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who co-founded Michigan Harvest Gathering, and Michigan first lady Sue Snyder.

"Nearly 1 in 10 Michigan residents -- more than one third of them children -- will eat food supplied by a food bank this year," Johnson said. "Bill Schuette has done so much to bring about awareness and to help feed Michigan's hungry. I am proud that the Secretary of State's Office, and our employees, will be a part of this effort by collecting food in our branches. I encourage all Michigan residents to please donate and help your neighbors in need."

Dan Wyant, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality director; Paige Hathaway, member relations manager of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association; Linda Jones, representative of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development; and DeWayne Wells, Food Bank Council of Michigan Board chair also joined in the announcement.

"Since the start of the Michigan Harvest Gathering in 1990, we have been able to provide more than 15 million meals to Michigan residents," Schuette said. "Our mission is far from over, we need to continue to fight hard against hunger and keep Michigan families nourished. Every donation helps Michigan families make ends meet."

The 2011 goal is 300,000 pounds of food and $750,000. In 2010, Michigan Harvest Gathering collected more than 180,000 pounds of food and $930,000.

The Harvest Gathering campaign runs through Nov. 10. However, donated items can be dropped off at any Secretary of State branch office through Dec. 16. People donating items should check the packages to ensure the food donated isn't past its expiration date.

The campaign is coordinated by the Food Bank Council of Michigan, 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.

"The Food Bank Council of Michigan is thrilled to see the Secretary of State engaging in the Michigan Harvest Gathering again this year," said William Long, interim executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. "It is the dedicated support from organizations like the Secretary of State that continue to make Michigan Harvest Gathering a success."

People are asked to donate food items such as canned meats, dry beans, soups, beef stew, pasta products, peanut butter and tuna. They can also donate 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.

For more information about branch office locations and Secretary of State services, visit www.Michigan.gov/sos. You may also sign up for the official SOS Twitter feed, www.twitter.com/Michsos, and Facebook updates, www.facebook.com/Michigansos.

Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).

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For media questions, please call Gisgie Dávila Gendreau at 517-373-2520.