The March Food Drive at the Ross Medical Education Center Brighton, Michigan campus was a great success! The campus spent the month collecting non-perishable foods and other supplies for Bountiful Harvest of Brighton. According to Founder Yvonne Cavalli, “by working together with human service agencies, charitable organizations, food banks, churches, individuals, and businesses, our combined effort has the potential of being the greatest grassroots campaign to fight hunger in Livingston County.” The Bountiful Harvest website also indicates that over 2500 families have been served by the pantry, where they distributed just shy of a quarter million pounds of food and other items.
Students, faculty, and staff donated items all month, culminating in an Opening Day Celebration with a potluck. Students were able to wear Tiger apparel to school if they brought in a donation. Their donated items ranged from shampoo, to canned goods, to pasta and breakfast food. In addition to being a food pantry, Bountiful Harvest also provides meals to needy families. Volunteers provided over 150 14-pound turkeys with all the fixings for Thanksgiving and turkey or ham dinners for Christmas last year. Every Saturday the facility serves a hot breakfast to anyone who wishes to attend.
They also provide other important services to the Livingston County community. Their Connected Kidz program targets 5th grade students, helping to prepare them for high school by giving them free laptops. During the holiday season, they host a Christmas store that provides gifts for parents to select for their children. Children also have the opportunity to pick out gifts for their parents. Those that participate are also given the opportunity to wrap their gifts.
The Bountiful Harvest Clothing Pantry celebrated its 7th anniversary in November, supplying clothes from newborn size to adult. November Saturdays provided a winter coat giveaway which also included gloves, scarves, and hats. Bountiful Harvest also partners with the SNAP program, having the Coordinator meet with interested clients. Other resources are provided through a Resource Navigator to help clients obtain assistance with housing, gas, and utility payments.
Campus Director Susan Mall chose the organization because she knows that “Bountiful Harvest is a small, community-centered organization that relies on volunteers and donations only.” The Pantry is moving soon, from St. Georges to the Brighton Community Center. The move will allow the organization to also serve a Friday evening meal. The Bountiful Harvest mission statement says: “Bountiful Harvest Inc. is a vocal advocate for the hungry and displaced. We do what is needed in order to help children and families in need. No need is too small and no voice is too quiet to be heard. We will devote the time and energy necessary to educate, advocate, and feed.”