Schoolcraft Food Pantry Provides Needed Assistance

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Bill Brown delivers groceries he purchases from his own pocket each month to the Eagles Nest to stock the food pantry.

By Sue Moore

Two new families have recently been added to the Schoolcraft Food Pantry’s list of recipients bringing the number of families being served to 22, meaning that 36 people receive food assistance from the volunteer organization which has been serving the community for over 30 years.

This food pantry is different because the food is delivered to recipients whose names are kept confidential. Only the pantry volunteers and the drivers know who they are.

Families fill out a request form citing their needs, data which is then entered into the computer database, said Nancy Rafferty, who has volunteered at the pantry since 1997.

“There are no questions asked; we just give them food,” she said.

The monthly deliveries mainly contain non-perishables such as soup, pasta, cereal, peanut butter, canned fruit and vegetables.

Supporting the pantry’s work are organizations and individuals who provide monetary donations or food. For example, cash donations to the pantry come through the Presbyterian Church’s restricted account that was set up by the pantry’s founder, Minnie Frank, many years ago.

Cash helps the most, the volunteers say, since the donations allow them to buy the most needed items in bulk, with cereal being one of the biggest and most costly. They also purchase through Loaves and Fishes, the Food Bank of South Central Michigan, and South County Community Services, of which the Schoolcraft site is a satellite food pantry.

Harding’s in Schoolcraft is always generous, according to the volunteers. They also appreciate the $100 a month the Schoolcraft Lions Club donates. The food drive at Schoolcraft High School is their biggest resource every year and what they collect during the holiday season has to last a whole year. Bill Brown, whose dad owned Brown’s grocery store in Schoolcraft, reads ads, clips coupons and shops for whatever is on sale and then donates his purchases to the Food Pantry.

Along with Rafferty, Peg Crissman, and Jan McNally help with organizing the pantry and packing the food for delivery. All three are former teachers, whose jobs helped them realize that hunger was closer than the average person knew. They feel they’ve been given so much that it’s their turn to give back.

“There shouldn’t be anyone who goes hungry in America,” said Crissman.

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