Throughout 2020 Wayne County Farm Bureau volunteers donated more than 200 hours of volunteer time and 7,200 pounds of food to local food banks. As Michigan’s biggest donors to Harvest for All, the national program encouraging county Farm Bureaus to fight hunger locally, the Wayne County organization earned a $1,000 prize to donate to a food bank of their choice.
Now in its 16th year, Harvest for All has challenged Farm Bureau members to share agriculture's bounty and helped neighbors in need, by donating surplus agricultural commodities, non-perishable food products, money and/or volunteer hours to local food banks.
Wayne County donated its $1,000 award to Forgotten Harvest, the Oak Park-based organization formed in 1990 to fight hunger and waste.
Forgotten Harvest “rescues” food by collecting surplus prepared and perishable food from over 800 locations. Instead of going to waste, this donated food is delivered to more than 250 emergency food providers in the metro Detroit area at no cost.
Coordinated by Michigan Farm Bureau's State Young Farmer Committee in partnership with the Food Bank Council of Michigan, the 2020 MFB Harvest for All campaign yielded 8.2 tons of surplus agricultural commodities, 1,235 pounds of non-perishable food products, $8,666 in financial donations and 403 hours of volunteer time.
“Being able to share our surplus harvest with those in need brings a great sense of fulfillment,” said Sonja Lapak, a member of MFB's State Young Farmer Committee and Young Farmer representative on the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture’s Agent Charitable Fund. “Our Young Farmer members want to give back in a meaningful way, and this is just one simple way we can help.
“We want to honor those county Farm Bureaus who are dedicated to this charitable work.”
Wayne County Farm Bureau was responsible for more than 50 percent of all volunteer service hours reported by county Farm Bureaus this year. Monroe County Farm Bureau, who led the state in both volunteer hours and donated food in 2019, finished second for volunteer hours. Oakland County Farm Bureau finished in second place in food donated with over 4,100 pounds of food while Berrien County Farm Bureau was third with 3,520 pounds.