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Emergency funding helps Forgotten Harvest deliver food, formula

Emergency funding from The Children’s Foundation helped Forgotten Harvest provide baby food, baby formula and school lunches for kids, along with groceries for families. The money also helped fund supplies and gas for Forgotten Harvest delivery trucks. (Forgotten Harvest via Facebook)

By Marti Benedetti for Crain’s Content Studio

When Forgotten Harvest received its emergency $10,000 from The Children’s Foundation, it used it for what the organization knows best: getting healthy food to the people who need it most, said Kirk Mayes, the Oak Park-based organization’s CEO.

The Children’s Foundation, the state’s largest funder dedicated solely to children’s health and wellness has dispersed more than 20 emergency grants since March through its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The funding is designed to support children and families by providing for essential needs such as food, diaper and formula purchases and by supporting  technology that will help transition health and wellness services online.

The emergency funding helped Forgotten Harvest provide baby food, baby formula and school lunches for kids, along with groceries for families. The money also helped fund supplies and gas for Forgotten Harvest delivery trucks.

“Typically, we serve children,” Mayes said. “We have three signature things we do: a library snack program, summer lunches and an afterschool snack program.”

With the grant money, Forgotten Harvest was able to feed the whole family. Along with two portions of protein, the families received potatoes, fruit, cereal, drinks, cheese and milk.

Forgotten Harvest is known for salvaging high-quality food left over from parties and events at Detroit casinos, Little Caesar’s Arena, Comerica Park, restaurants and other venues. Immediately after the shelter-in-place order closed those venues, Forgotten Harvest saw thousands of pounds of food donated. It had to logistically manage the larger-than-usual donations. Now that the venues have been closed for months, Forgotten Harvest is looking to new sources for food donations.

Before March, it delivered 138,000 pounds of surplus food a day, six days a week, to local charities.

“The moves we had to make at this hour were completely unpredictable,” Mayes said. “It was outside our normal business model.”

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