Goodwill of Northern Michigan is harvesting healthy across our region through its food rescue program. From volunteers to donations, Healthy Harvest is in need of support from the Northern Michigan community to bring food to neighbors. Learn how you can support this project and additional Northern Michigan nonprofits featured in our 2021 GIVE issue.

The call came on a sunny September day from Buchan’s Blueberry Hill: The Old Mission fruit farm had excess berries on the bushes. Could Food Rescue pick them up and get them out to people in need?

Goodwill Northern Michigan volunteers sprang into action and within hours had harvested more than 100 pounds of fresh blueberries. The berries were taken to the Food Rescue warehouse and prepped and packaged by volunteers into family-size portions before heading out to area food pantries and meal sites and into the hands of local families experiencing food insecurity.

It’s all part of Goodwill’s Healthy Harvest program, just one aspect of their food rescue work and overarching mission of providing nutritious food for neighbors as well as offering shelter, housing and outreach to the surrounding community.

Where does all that food go? “We serve more than 70 sites over the five-county region,” explains Taylor Moore, Food Rescue manager for Goodwill Northern Michigan. “The bulk of the work that we do in Food Rescue is that we go to food donors, such as grocery stores, bakeries and farms, pick up food, put it in the truck and make same-day delivery to food pantries in the area.”

Healthy Harvest volunteers are no strangers to getting their hands in the dirt, helping glean crops like asparagus, potatoes and more straight from farmers’ fields, as well as repacking fresh produce so that it can be easily utilized by members of the Northwest Food Coalition—a group of pantries and meal sites that meet monthly to collaborate and join efforts.

In the past year, Moore says Food Rescue has also been able to distribute food purchased by the Northwest Food Coalition as a way to support local farms hard hit by COVID, creating a ripple effect of goodness in the community.

Goodwill is seeking volunteers to be healthy harvesters, and donations are earmarked to the Food Rescue program, which supports the Healthy Harvest. To connect with volunteer opportunities or make a donation to support bringing food to neighbors, visit

This Article Was First Featured in Northern Michigan GIVE 2021

Read more Northern Michigan nonprofit stories and learn how to donate and volunteer in the free edition of MyNorth GIVE 2021. You can also preview and purchase our digital issues Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.

Northern Michigan GIVE 2021 by MyNorth

Photo by MyNorth Media

Photo(s) by Goodwill of Northern Michigan