August 16, 2013

Putting good food to use in the Great Lakes Bay Region

Hidden HarvestIt 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 20 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 County. In 1994, the Saginaw Community Foundation celebrated its 10th anniversary and HIDDEN HARVEST, a surplus food rescue program, was organized and initiated. HIDDEN HARVEST was (and still is) the areas 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 brainstorming, organizing and fundraising for HIDDEN HARVEST. 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, Germaina 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.



In 1998, HIDDEN HARVEST became an independent non-profit organization. The organization moved into a larger facility at 319 Hayden Street, which was the former corporate headquarters for the Galen E. Wilson Petroleum Company. They were able to purchase two additional trucks for food pick-ups and deliveries and expanded their service area to include the Bay and Midland area.



HIDDEN HARVEST moved into a new home in October 2005 located inside The Hunger Solution Center at 940 E. Genesee Avenue in Saginaw. The new home provides HIDDEN HARVEST with a four-bay garage, a 7,000 square foot warehouse, conference rooms and work area. Today, they serve more than 170 agencies and more than 350 food donors contribute healthy surplus food to HIDDEN HARVEST.



Learn more about how HIDDEN HARVEST works at