Community corner: Variety is the spice of life

By Drew Johnson

Food is one of basic needs that South County Community Services assists families and seniors with on a daily basis. We have a food pantry that is open Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-noon, or by appointment. Twice a month, anyone in the community may come in for eight days’ worth of food. Throughout the years, and especially when COVID-19 was more prevalent, we have tried different ways of providing food from our pantry. But we always try to prioritize client choice.

For that reason, we allow people to come through our building and shop for foods that they and their families would like; we have found that pantry clients are more satisfied with the food that they receive and more likely to use it than if we pre-box food. Because of this, variety in our food stock is extremely important to us—we don’t have 50 boxes to pack, so we don’t want 50 of the same thing!

The Postal Food Drive, coming up May 13, is the biggest day of the year for the food pantry. We bring in about a dozen volunteers and process food all day. And some of the food that we get is amazing! We get all kinds of unique foods, as well as a variety of types of more standard fare like marinara sauces, soups, and pastas. It feels very satisfying to lead someone through the pantry when they are finding foods that they (or, more often, their kids) will like and are getting excited planning meals.

If you are planning on putting food out for your postal worker to collect, please make sure that it is not too old: we cannot give out food that is more than a year past its expiration date, which sometimes makes up as much as 25% of the food collected! Needless to say, this is a lot of work for both the post office and us to process. Also, don’t sleep on items like spices and condiments—those are important parts of making a meal too!
We look forward to receiving your donations! South County has been extremely generous in the past, and we are looking forward to nice, full shelves.

Senior Nutrition Programs at SCCS:

CSFP Food Delivery – commodity supplemental food program: Every month, volunteer drivers deliver approximately $50 worth of non-perishable foods to seniors on our delivery list. In order to join, seniors must be low-income and 60 years of age or better.

Senior Dining Vouchers – Seniors can purchase dining vouchers to Yogi’s for a small voluntary donation. You must be 60 years of age or better to use this program.

Food For All – South County Community Services pays for home-delivered meals from Milestone Senior Services for seniors who would benefit from short-term nutritional support but do not qualify for Meals On Wheels.

Drew Johnson lives in Kalamazoo and is the Director at South County Community Services. He has a small quarter acre homestead with chickens, bees, and hops (and more!), a wonderful wife, and three energetic children. He can be reached at 649-2901 or

For more information on South County Community Services, please check out our Facebook page at or visit our website.

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