Forgotten Harvest fundraisers offer food for thought with Pampered Chef founder

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 10, 2017

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DETROIT/GROSSE POINTE SHORES — A local connection is bringing Pampered Chef founder and Chair Doris Christopher into town to headline a pair of fundraisers for Forgotten Harvest.

Christopher will be addressing two events for women that will benefit Forgotten Harvest Farms, a 125-acre farm in Fenton where the nonprofit grows fresh produce to supplement the food it collects for children, adults and seniors in need in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

The Women’s Harvest Breakfast, for which tickets cost $125 per person, is from 7 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Oct. 25 at the Detroit Athletic Club downtown; and the Women’s Harvest Dinner, for which tickets cost $150 apiece, is from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in Grosse Pointe Shores. Both events will offer networking opportunities for attendees, as well as question-and-answer sessions with Christopher. Attendees will have a chance to purchase Pampered Chef items at both events, with 30 percent of the proceeds going to Forgotten Harvest.

Lisa Gandelot, of Grosse Pointe Farms, is co-chairing these fundraisers with her daughter, Nancy Gandelot, of Detroit. Nancy Gandelot is a longtime friend and sorority sister of Julie Christopher, Doris Christopher’s daughter. Nancy Gandelot said that the Pampered Chef company has a strong affiliation with Feeding America, so this made for an ideal team effort.

“We all kind of fell in love with that idea,” Nancy Gandelot said of an event to support Forgotten Harvest Farms. “We all really believe in giving back.”

The events have two honorary co-chairs: Nora Moroun, of Grosse Pointe Shores, and Patricia Larson, of Fenton.

“The synergy for this event was obvious from the start,” Moroun said in a prepared statement. “Doris Christopher started her multimillion-dollar business based on her passion to preserve family mealtime and provide families the tools they needed to prepare healthy, delicious meals. Forgotten Harvest Farms was founded with those same ideals — that every family deserves access to fresh, healthy food, no matter their means.”

Tim Hudson, of Grosse Pointe Farms, the chief development officer of Forgotten Harvest, said that this is the fifth year of operations for the farm, which sits on property owned by the Moroun family. Over the last five years, Hudson said, they’ve collected more than 4.5 million pounds of food, including kale, sweet corn, squash and collard greens.

“It’s all fairly nutrient-rich food that people who are food insecure cannot afford,” he said.

Forgotten Harvest, which was founded in 1990, collects surplus prepared and perishable foods from grocery stores, restaurants and other sources to deliver for free to more than 250 emergency food providers in metro Detroit. Hudson estimates that through these efforts, Forgotten Harvest is able to get needed food to hundreds of thousands of metro Detroit residents each year.

He said that in this area, 1 in 8 families and 1 in 6 children are food insecure. Hudson said people might be surprised not only by these statistics, but also by the fact that there are hungry people in their own communities — perhaps even in their own neighborhoods.

“There are many families and seniors that live in our Grosse Pointe community and neighboring communities that are hungry and food insecure, and Forgotten Harvest is there to help,” Hudson said.

Nancy Gandelot said she has tried to reduce food waste in her own life.

“Part of the reason we wanted to do this is, hunger is a major problem in this country, and it really shouldn’t be,” Gandelot said. “It pains me to think people are going to bed hungry or waking up hungry.”

These events provide an opportunity for women to make a positive difference in the community.

“I want to help solve the hunger problem in this area and have fun doing it,” Nancy Gandelot said.

These fundraisers also offer a rare chance to hear Christopher and her story.

“She does not do this very often,” Nancy Gandelot said.

Both events should be “worthwhile and entertaining,” she said.

Reservations for these fundraisers must be made by Oct. 16 or 17, Hudson said. Those who can’t make these events are welcome to make a donation toward the farm program. In addition, Hudson said that through Nov. 30, people who purchase Pampered Chef items through a link on the Forgotten Harvest website will be helping Forgotten Harvest, because 30 percent of those sales will go to the nonprofit. However, these sales must be made using the link on the Forgotten Harvest site. For tickets or more information, visit www.forgottenharvest.org.