Forgotten Harvest: Rescuing Food to Relieve Hunger

I skipped over to Forgotten Harvest one afternoon with Suzie Phillips, our Patron Saint of Salsa. Garden Fresh has been donating salsa, chips, hummus and dips to their cause for many years. We embraced the opportunity to take a tour of their facility and understand their organization more intimately.

We walked through the double doors of their establishment in Southfield and were immediately greeted by two warm smiles. Marilyn Beckham and Susan Goodell shook our hands and ushered us into the conference room. We shared stories and watched a heartwarming video highlighting their mission and vision.

Driving Hunger from Our Community Since 1990

Chef Aaron Klassen Displays Meal Kits Prepared for the Hungry

Forgotten Harvest was formed in 1990 to fight two problems: hunger and waste. Faster than a speeding bullet, they “rescue” surplus, prepared and perishable food from over 455 food businesses and distribute it to over 165 soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters in the Metro Detroit area. They are one of the most highly regarded, award-winning, food rescue organizations in the country and are consistently categorized as one of the top non-profits. In our book, Forgotten Harvest ranks as one of the leading super heroes of our great nation.

As Suzie and I walked through the halls and warehouses, our hearts swelled with inspiration as we listened to stories and witnessed their work. Marilyn shared a heart-wrenching tale: a personal account of how this great organization touched someone’s life. At a recent awards ceremony, a woman walked up to the podium with her infant in her arms. She looked at Marilyn as she spoke into the microphone, her eyes welled with tears. If it wasn’t for the Forgotten Harvest, she said, her family might not have survived the winter.

As we wiped away tears of our own, we shuffled down to the kitchen. We met with extreme humanitarian and Head Chef, Aaron Klassen who harnesses creativity and a passion for food to prepare nutritious, balanced meals for the hungry. Rescued food arrives in their warehouses daily and hundreds of volunteers repack meals under his culinary expertise. It’s an amazing operation to behold!

Forgotten Harvest Facts

  • Our country wastes 96 billion pounds of food a year
  • 1 in 5 people face hunger daily in Metro Detroit
  • $1 provides 5 Forgotten Harvest meals
  • Their goal this year is to rescue 19.4 million pounds of food
  • Their fleet consists of 28 refrigerated trucks that rescue food six days a week

Ways to Help

Last year, Garden Fresh donated over 7,000 pounds of surplus food. Volunteer, become a food donor or make a financial donation. $1 provides five meals to the hungry. These are just a few ways you can help.

This spring, Suzie and I are going to be “Harvest Helpers”. It’s a chance to ride along on one of their trucks, helping their team rescue and deliver food. We’re certain it’ll be a ride we’ll never forget.