On Wednesday, April 18, Forgotten Harvest will announce its third annual One Million Meal Challenge program for kids and families in need of food this coming summer at the Feeding America National Summit Conference that will be held at the GM Renaissance Center from April 17-April 20.

Mitch Albom, best-selling author, Detroit Free Press journalist, screenwriter, playwright, WJR 760 radio host, television broadcaster and musician will kick off the program on his daily radio program at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18. He will solicit donations that day from the listening audience. Albom is a long-time Forgotten Harvest Advisory Board Member and will serve as the keynote speaker at the Feeding America Summit that morning.

The goal of this effort is to solicit donations to help feed our children in need in the summer who don’t have the access to healthy, high-protein meals that they can get while attending school through breakfast and lunch programs.

“One in four of our kids will be at risk of hunger this summer when they aren’t able to participate in school breakfast and lunch programs,” said Susan Goodell, president and CEO of Forgotten Harvest. Forgotten Harvest expects to deliver at least 100,000 lunches to kids throughout southeastern Michigan during summer break.

“The One Million Meal Challenge program fills a gap that might otherwise go unmet during the summer month. Without the generous support of the GM Foundation, the PNC Foundation and the ongoing support of the community our kids might otherwise have to go hungry. We are committed to be certain that won’t happen here in metro Detroit,” Goodell said.

“Summer time is not vacation time for many of these kids, many of whom depend upon breakfast and lunch programs at school,” said Russ Russell, Forgotten Harvest Chief Development Officer. “When school’s out, a lot of our kids may not eat so this time of the year is critical.”

Executives from the PNC Foundation and the GM Foundation are scheduled to announce their participation in the One Million Meal Challenge program on the Albom radio show broadcast daily on WJR. The PNC Foundation will provide a matching grant of $48,000. The GM Foundation will provide a matching grant of $25,000.

The matching grants will enable Forgotten Harvest to provide 10 meals for every dollar that is donated against the match during the summer. Donations of $120 or more will be given two free tickets to Forgotten Harvests 20th Annual Comedy Night featuring Seth Meyers, star of Saturday Night Live. That fundraiser will take place Friday, April 27 at Orchestra Hall. The offer of tickets is good until midnight the day of the kickoff, Wednesday, April 18. Donations can be taken online that evening and throughout the program at www.forgottenharvest.org or by telephone that evening at 888-332-7140.

Fundraising efforts and outreach for the program will continue through June 30. Busch’s Fresh Food Markets will support the program, through their annual All About Children fundraiser which is slated to begin May 7th and continue through May 16 at 15 area Busch’s stores. Busch’s will sponsor a radiothon to be broadcast on News/Talk radio station WJR 760 am on May 16 to generate donations for the program. To celebrate the kickoff week, over 60 local Bank of America employees will volunteer at Forgotten Harvest headquarters in Oak Park on Friday, April 20. Kerry Sullivan, president, Bank of America Foundation, will lead the group’s efforts that day.

To celebrate the kickoff week, over 40 local Bank of America employees will volunteer at Forgotten Harvest headquarters in Oak Park on Friday, April 20. Bank of America Charitable Foundation President Kerry Sullivan will lead the group’s efforts that day.

The One Million Meal Challenge program, now in its third year, has a goal to provide over 100,000 sack lunches and snacks to agencies and summer programs throughout the tri-county area when school adjourns in mid-June. The program is scheduled to run for 10 weeks this summer.

In addition, Forgotten Harvest has set a goal to deliver and distribute one million pounds of food free of charge to families in need throughout the summer in its Mobile Pantry program, an innovative program that allows recipients to “shop” in a famer market setting and choose the types of food that best suits their family’s needs.

Forgotten Harvest, now projected to be Americas largest food rescue operation, distributes, fresh, rescued perishable foods such as produce fruits, meats and dairy products six days a week to over 250 agencies across the tri-county area. Rescued food is donated by over 450 area donors such as grocery stores and farms, and is distributed free of charge to recipients.

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