In brief

Secretary of State offices collecting food donations

LANSING — Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson recently announced all Secretary of State branch offices will be collecting nonperishable food items as part of the annual Harvest Gathering campaign. The campaign begins today and runs through Nov. 15.

“Secretary of State offices have been participating in the Harvest Gathering for 20 years, and in that time, our generous customers and staff have donated more than 155 tons of food and $42,000,” said Benson. “Because donations stay in the area in which they are collected, every food or personal care item you drop off at a Secretary of State branch office will assist someone in need within your community – a family, a veteran, a senior citizen, a homeless neighbor.”

In 2018, the statewide Michigan Harvest Gathering campaign, which included the Michigan Health and Hospital Association and multiple state departments, collected 1,285,000 pounds of food and more than $329,000. “Creating partnerships between corporations, small businesses and government is critical to making Michigan a food secure state,” said Dr. Phillip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. “Our partnership with the Secretary of State during the Michigan Harvest Gathering is vital in reaching every community in our state.”

In Michigan, 16 percent of households struggle to put food on the table, and 21 percent of children don’t know where their next meal will come from, according to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. The organization coordinates the Harvest Gathering program, which supplies the state’s regional food banks through donations of food and money. The regional food banks serve food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in every Michigan county. Nonperishable food items with a valid expiration date can be dropped off at any Secretary of State office. Food items especially needed include canned meats, dry beans, soups, beef stew, pasta products, peanut butter and tuna. Other items include baby food or formula, diapers, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes. The Food Bank requests donors avoid items in glass, as they often break in transit.

Financial donations should be made online at FeedMichigan.org. — G.G.

AAA: Michigan gas prices increase seven cents

DEARBORN — Gas prices in Michigan are down after jumping 13 cents to $2.71 per gallon on Oct. 4. Michigan drivers are now paying an average price of $2.69 per gallon for regular unleaded, 7 cents more than a week ago and 1 cent more than this time last month. Despite the increase, drivers are still paying about 31 cents less than this same time last year.

Motorists are paying an average of $40 for a full 15-gallon tank of gasoline; a discount of $7 from when prices were their highest last May.

In its latest weekly report, the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) data revealed that gas demand is starting to decline – as is typically the case during the fall. For the week ending on Sept. 27, demand moved from 9.34 million b/d to 9.13 million b/d, which is the same rate seen at the end of September 2018. — G.G.