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.”