www.mybaycity.com January 30, 2007
Rotary Article 1466

Hidden Harvest Program Presented to Club

January 30, 2007
By: Stephen Kent

Visit RotaryBayCity.org, web site of the Rotary Club of Bay City, Michigan


  • Club Web Site: New features are being added regularly. Visit the site and pass along suggestions to Stephen Kent or Gena Gates: www.RotaryBayCity.org

  • NO PARKING - Keep it in mind!
    The parking lot to the West of the Lumber Barons' is private parking. Please use the lot on the East (river) side.

  • International Night Committee holds it's first meeting for this year's event on February 6 at 11:00 at Lumber Barons'.

  • Board Meeting Next week - February 13 at 11:00 at Lumber Barons'.

  • Meeting Helpers for the next six months are being recruited. If you'd like to be the greeter, do 50/50 ticket sales, or take lunch money, please sign up at the table this week.

  • Rotary Youth Exchange is ramping up, said Rob Monroe. Students are chosen in the fall but anyone interested needs to be thinking about it now. If you know of prospects, tell them to request information. Rob says to parents that it's a lot cheaper to ship the kids overseas than keep them here for a year.

  • Community Grants committee is working on a funding focus for next year. Grant requests are taken for any worthy project, but preference is given to projects that reflect the focus. If you have ideas, please pass the word to the committee.


    The club welcomed Beth Hunter and Bob Jansen, members of the outbound Group Study Exchange team. Beth and Bob were guests of Rotarian team leader Connie Schweitzer.

    NEW MEMBERS PROPOSED: Dr. John Ley, retired ophthalmologist, proposed by Al Hicks; and Ron Bloomfield, curator of Bay County Historical Museum, proposed by Eric Jyhla.

    Upcoming Programs (See the official schedule at RotaryBayCity.org)

  • Feb 6 Karolyn Karl, AmeriCorps, on groundwater and pollution prevention.

  • Feb 13 Bay Regional Medical Center, Alice Gerard, President.

  • Feb 20 Girl Scouts, Kerry Allen, Director

  • Feb 27 Lou Anna Simon, President, Michigan State University

  • Mar 20 Vocational Day

  • Mar 27 Vocational Day

  • April 17 Dick Devos

    LAST WEEK'S PROGRAM: Programmer Eric Jyhla introduced guest speaker Richard Premo President and CEO of Saginaw's Hidden Harvest. Richard spoke on the ten year success story of the local organization that rescues unused food from area restaurants, bakeries, wholesalers, grocery stores, hospitals and schools. The food is then distributed through a network of food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and other nonprofit programs.

    Started in 1994 as a partnership with the Saginaw Community Foundation and the Good Neighbors Mission, Hidden Harvest now serves the entire Bay, Midland and Saginaw region. The organization which started operations in a small converted building, recently built a 6,000 square foot building which they share with the East Side Soup Kitchen. They operate three refrigerated trucks and one pickup and employs five and a half people.

    Although many people don't see it, the area has a significant population of people who need help. Over 17% of the population lives at or below the poverty level. These people are not always homeless or jobless. Many are part of the working poor or the underemployed.

    On average, 140 pounds of food is thrown out for every person each year. Hidden Harvest rescued about 60,000 pounds in 1994, its first year. In 2006 their efforts saved over 1.2 million pounds of food. The goal is to reach 1.6 million pounds this year then move on to 2 million pounds.

    The agency follows strict health and food safety guidelines in collecting food. Canned food and packaged food can be used four to six months after the sell by date. Produce, meat and dairy products have a much shorter use cycle. Freshly prepared excess food which has been under the direct supervision of the kitchen and has been properly packaged for transport can be used immediately.

    Local schools, hospitals and other institutions partner with Hidden Harvest and have areas set aside for food pickup. Some food comes from unexpected sources like the local potato farmer who called this week to say he had 20,000 pounds of packaged potatoes that he couldn't use and which would still be good for a few weeks.

    Hidden Harvest's funding is all from private sources, grands, fund raisers and donations. No government funds are used. Food is picked up and delivered without charge.

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