Schoolcraft Eagle’s Nest, making a difference

Schoolcraft Food Pantry volunteers Peggy Crissman and Jan McNally.

By Kathy DeMott

An eagle’s nest is where the eagles prepare for and raise their offspring. Eagles mate for life and return to the same nest each year for shelter and protection. Appropriately named, the Schoolcraft Eagle’s Nest is nestled next to the elementary school and provides a home for programs that support families.

Schoolcraft Friday Pack is a 501c3 nonprofit organization operated by volunteers and donations. According to President Jill Strake, the mission is to provide nutritional weekend food packs for food-insecure students in their school district, similar to the Generous Hands program in Vicksburg.

Many volunteers, including students and retirees, collect and pack prepackaged food and snacks for weekends, summer and holiday breaks. The packs are then discreetly put in lockers weekly. Families are referred by school staff or can contact Friday Pack directly.

The Eagle’s Nest is also home to the Schoolcraft Food Pantry which began at the local First Presbyterian Church. It’s now a satellite of South County and part of Loaves and Fishes. According to Jan McNally, the mission is to provide monthly nonperishable food for at-risk families in the Schoolcraft school district. McNally, along with Peggy Crissman and Nancy Rafferty, coordinate the pantry. Rafferty, whose heart is to help others without judgment and with confidentiality asks, “Are you in need and do you want help?”

Crissman said, “No child or person should go hungry. We could feed everyone if we put our minds to it. It’s our community that makes this food bank successful.” The main source of food comes from the school food drives each year. In 2020, they reached out to the community through fliers and Facebook for their annual food drive, and the community responded generously.

Many churches, businesses, individuals, and clubs help financially as well as the volunteers that clean the building, pack and deliver food monthly to 19 families and 36 seniors and adults. Harding’s in Schoolcraft also helps with food and certificates, and has a donation bin at the store. The library has a bin and has donated books to families with children.

To learn more or receive benefits call Eagle’s Nest at 269-488-5847.

To donate, write checks to: Schoolcraft Friday Pack Inc. P.O Box 50, 629 E. Clay Street, Schoolcraft, MI 49087.

For food pantry: Schoolcraft First Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 635, Schoolcraft, MI 49087 with “food pantry” in memo line. Contributions are tax-deductible.

Adams Kids, another organization aimed at helping the needs of infants, closed Dec. 31.

Penny Allen, Sue Kuiper and Brenda Bowers launched Adam’s Kids to help provide diapers, wipes and formula for infants. The name of the project was a tribute to Brenda’s son, Adam Worrall, a Vicksburg student who died unexpectedly of a heart condition. He was known as a giver of his time and heart for others.

For 12 years, Adam’s Kids provided the supplies to those in need. As it grew, it reached out to local churches to provide satellite locations for families. The churches began to handle the need, Kuiper said, and Adams Kids began to receive fewer requests. Most of those were coming from Kalamazoo and Portage residents.

Organizers decided needs were being met elsewhere and decided to close.Remaining supplies were donated to Twelve Baskets. For help, contact Maternal Infant Health programs for referrals at (833) MI4-MIHP (644-6447) or by e-mail at mihp@michigan.gov.

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