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Vol­un­teers at the Central Michigan Food Bank in Battle Creek prepare food thanks to cam­paign such as Give Bushels. Courtesy | Facebook

Hillsdale County Farm Bureau’s annual “Give Bushels” cam­paign is in its final month of fundraising for the South Central Michigan Food Bank in Battle Creek.

Hillsdale County Admin­is­trative Manager Janelle Wal­worth said the Michigan Farm Bureau has a larger cam­paign, “Harvest for All,” and every county farm bureau does some­thing dif­ferent to raise money for the state’s cam­paign.

“The purpose is strictly to put dollars into the South Central Michigan Food Bank,” Wal­worth said. “Every­thing we bring in goes directly to the food bank.”

The cam­paign began in August and will end April 19. Although the bureau accepts dona­tions year-round, Wal­worth said April 19 is the deadline for the bureau to benefit from the food bank’s match program, which pro­vides an addi­tional 10 percent match to funds donated.

Former Hillsdale County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Chair Ali Ferry said she began “Give Bushels” cam­paign in 2016.

“We went with that theme to tie it back to the products farmers produce everyday,” Ferry said.

Ferry said most products farmers sell are sold in bushels, like soy­beans.

Even though Ferry is no longer the Young Farmer Chair, she said she’s happy to see that the cam­paign has con­tinued annually.

“It’s some­thing our com­munity is always excited about,” Ferry said.

Former Hillsdale County Pro­motion and Edu­cation Chair Jan Sober said the cam­paign pre­vi­ously col­lected canned goods but now only col­lects mon­etary funds.

“It became obvious that mon­etary funds go a lot further than canned goods,” Sober said.

Sober added that most food pantries can max­imize the amount of mon­etary funds they receive to feed fam­ilies.

“The South Central Michigan Food Bank sta­tistics say $1 will buy six meals,” Sober said.

Addi­tionally, Sober said food banks can max­imize their funds by pur­chasing food items in bulk from grocery stores.

“There are a lot of large grocery chains that will donate food to the bank if they have more than they need,” Sober said.  

Wal­worth said the farm bureau does not work directly with Hillsdale County’s 15 food pantries because all of the money goes directly to the South Central Michigan Food Bank.

“The food bank divvies out those dollars to put food into the pantries,” Wal­worth said.  

So far, Wal­worth said the cam­paign has received $500 in dona­tions. In pre­vious years, the cam­paign has received $1,200 to $1,500 in dona­tions.

In the final weeks before the April 19 deadline, Wal­worth said the bureau encourages people in the com­munity to donate.  

“Typ­i­cally, it’s our members trying to put dollars together,” Wal­worth said. “But we always welcome any dona­tions people want to give.”

Com­munity members looking to donate can stop by the county office to make a cash or check donation. Dona­tions can also be sent in the mail.

Sober said she hopes people will support the cam­paign through the next couple of weeks.

“We always want to make sure that our fam­ilies are helped and fed,” Sober said. “We don’t always realize how close to the edge some of our neighbors are.”