About Hidden Harvest
Hidden Harvest’s mission is to alleviate hunger and end food waste in the Great Lakes Bay Region by providing a safe and coordinated system of rescuing surplus food and redistributing it to feed people in need.
Where We Come From
It is a simple concept. Don’t waste food and if you have extra, get it to people that can use it. It’s what our parents taught us. For years HIDDEN HARVEST has done just that. More than 50 million pounds of healthy and nutritious food items have been distributed to hunger relief agencies since 1994.
HIDDEN HARVEST was a “birthday present” from the Saginaw Community Foundation to Saginaw Country. In 1994, the Saginaw Community Foundation was celebrating its tenth anniversary and HIDDEN HARVEST, a surplus food rescue program was organized and initiated. HIDDEN HARVEST was (and still is) the area’s only prepared and perishable surplus food rescue program.
Lucy Allen, Past President and CEO of the Saginaw Community Foundation, along with Culli Damuth, and Diane Fong did much of the early brain storming, organizing and fundraising for HIDDEN HARVEST. The Good Neighbors Mission was the first home for HIDDEN HARVEST and Carolyn Butler, Executive Director of The Mission, provided the day-to-day supervision of the program.
Start up grants from The Harvey Randall Wickes Foundation, Wickson-Link Foundation, Saginaw Community Foundation and Citizens Bank Trusts helped finance the first three years of HIDDEN HARVEST. The grants allowed the program to purchase a truck with a refrigeration unit and hire a program coordinator.
In 1994, HIDDEN HARVEST began picking up surplus food items from food donors in the Saginaw area. Damores Wholesale Produce, The Frankenmuth Poultry Company, Germania Town and Country Club, Grants-Sysco Foodservice, Leaman’s Green Applebarn, McBrite Manor, Montague Inn, Ponderosa Steak House, Ruby Tuesday, Ryan’s Family Steak House, Saginaw Club, Saginaw Country Club, Saginaw General Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital, St Mary’s Medical Center, Super Foods and Treasure Island were some of our original food donors. That first year HIDDEN HARVEST was able to rescue and redistribute 59,852 pounds of surplus food items.
Some of the first recipient agencies were Boysville, East Side Soup Kitchen, Emmaus House, Good Neighbors Mission, Hospital Hospitality House, Innerlink, Mid-Michigan Teen Challenge, Refuge Center Ministries, Restoration Community Outreach, Saginaw City Rescue Mission, The Salvation Army and Underground Railroad.
Part of our 5 year plan was to distribute more than 2,000,000 pounds of surplus food by 2010. We have exceeded that goal because of our kind donors and our new facility.
Since then, HIDDEN HARVEST became an independent non-profit organization in 1998. The organization moved into a larger facility at 319 Hayden Street, which was the former corporate headquarters for the Galen E Wilson Petroleum Company (we leased the building for $1 a month). We have purchased two additional trucks for our food pick ups and deliveries and we expanded our service area to include the Bay and Midland area.
HIDDEN HARVEST moved into a new home in October 2005. The Hunger Solution Center provides HIDDEN HARVEST with a 4 bay garage, a 7,000 square foot warehouse, conference rooms and work area. Part of our 5 year plan was to distribute more than 2,000,000 pounds of surplus food by 2010. We have exceeded that goal because of our kind donors and our new facility.
What we are most proud of is that we serve more than 197 agencies and more than 300 food donors contribute healthy surplus food to HIDDEN HARVEST. In our first year we distributed 59,852 pounds of food. We now average more than 250,000 pounds of food per month and again this year we are on target to exceed, yet again, 3 million pounds of surplus food to our recipient agencies in the Great Lakes Bay Region.