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Donation Recipient

Each year the Festival Foundation selects a nonprofit recipient that focuses on food insecurity the the Grand Traverse Region to receive the donations from the CherryT Ball Drop. Applications for this year are closed and will reopen in early October. This year's recipient will be announced on November 30th.
Congratulations to the 2022 New Year's Eve Recipient: Goodwill Northern Michigan 's Food Rescue & Northwest Food Coalition

This year Goodwill Northern Michigan's Food Rescue & Northwest Food Coalition partnered together to apply to receive the gate donations from the CherryT Ball Drop. Suggested donation this year is $5 per person. Each year Food Rescue rescues, harvests, repacks, and distributes 1.8 million pounds or $3.3 million worth of food — to food pantries and community meal sites in a five-county region. They maintain relationships with over 150 food donors and serve a diverse group of 70+ Coalition members.

Food Rescue and the Food Coalition both focus on delivering nutritious food and fresh produce. Eighty percent of the food Food Rescue delivers is fresh and frozen bread, dairy, meat, fruits, and veggies, full of nutrients children, seniors, and all of us need. Seven years ago, 13% of Food Coalition members said they had fresh food available when they opened their doors to neighbors in need on any given day. Today, thanks
in large part to the efforts of Food Rescue, pantries report having fresh food available 64% of the time.

Mission Statements
Goodwill Northern Michigan: Goodwill Northern Michigan envisions a community where everyone has access to a safe and secure place to live, the nutritious food they need, and opportunities for empowering employment, so that everyone can thrive.

Northwest Food Coalition: Empower member food programs by coordinating and creating resources to achieve regional food security.

History of the Organizations
Goodwill Northern Michigan: In 1902, Rev Edgar Helms first went door to door with a burlap sack in his community, gathering used items to reuse and sell to help people in need. Goodwill’s social enterprise model grew from there to serve communities across the United States and beyond. Fifty years ago, our local Goodwill began with the name Asgard Enterprises, founded to open doors for people with disabilities. From fishing lures to making windows and work on Mackinac Island, we offered many job and training opportunities over the years. In 1986 we became a Goodwill member, changed our name to Goodwill Northern Michigan, and opened our first store. Our social enterprise helped us answer a community call to serve people experiencing homelessness and we opened the Good Samaritan Housing Center and then the Goodwill Inn.

In 2008 the founders of Food Rescue saw a win-win opportunity to increase access to healthy food for people experiencing food insecurity, and reduce food waste at the same time. Food Rescue joined with Goodwill logistics and the rest is history. After a global pandemic and a $5M MacKenzie Scott gift, we renewed our vision for serving people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity, focusing on partnerships.

Northwest Food Coalition: The formation of Northwest Food Coalition goes back to 1994, when the Hunger Action Coalition of Detroit reached out to 7 groups around the state to assess hunger and poverty in rural Michigan We were part of a grass roots movement who formed to assist area pantries in dealing with hunger, gathering resources for them, educating the public on needs and strengthening volunteers through a network that gathered and distributed needed food.

Since our inception, our group now includes roughly 70 food pantries, baby pantries and meal sites in 6 counties to address those hunger needs. Through the generous gifts of time, money and food, we are making a difference in the lives of those people who have needs and offer fellowship and caring to their neighbors. The Coalition members provide more than a can of soup or a sandwich, but also demonstrate the caring of one human being for another.
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