Feeding Manistee County

The Salvation Army recently purchased 800 Christmas food bags for Manistee County families.

The Salvation Army recently purchased 800 Christmas food bags for Manistee County families.

Variety of pantries distribute food throughout the county

MANISTEE — As the holidays approach, many Manistee County organizations want to remind residents that there are options for food support.

In total, the county boasts seven food pantries with a variety of hours of availability.

The pantries span the county and typically accept all residents who are in need of support.

“We’re here to help,” said Marti O’Herron, Salvation Army social service director. “We don’t want anyone in our area to go hungry.

“Hunger looks different in Manistee County than I think it does in other places,” O’Herron continued. “Yes, we have people who are hungry, but most of them have a little bit of food at least. We don’t see people who haven’t eaten for several days. Here, it’s more food insecurity.”

The Salvation Army food pantry is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday through Friday at 415 River St. in Manistee. The pantry allows people to select their food items in a grocery store setting. Right now, there is a large need for personal care items.

“We definitely rely on the community to help us with our food pantry,” O’Herron said. “If you can imagine, we have several families and individuals a day, five days a week, it adds up. Most of them get about 50 items when they come through.”

The Salvation Army also offers services to defeat the need for constant food support like budgeting and utility assistance.

“We’re also trying to make a bigger impact, too, than just food,” O’Herron said. “We offer so many other services, (so) we try and find out what’s causing the need for food and if there’s something we can do differently, whether it be helping with a budget or utilities.”

The Salvation Army recently completed 800 Christmas food baskets for people who signed up. Included in each basket is the makings for a Christmas dinner plus some extras.

Also in Manistee, the Matthew 25:35 Food Pantry, located at the St. Joseph Parish Center at 254 Sixth St. is an operation of the Catholic Community of Manistee.

The pantry is open from 10 a.m. to noon on the second Friday of each month. On Friday, it will distribute hams as part of a Christmas meal. It is open to any low income Manistee County resident.

“We have a pretty wide selection of groceries,” said organizer Joan Gamache. “We allow folks to pick out what they want. We always have all kinds of canned goods, baked goods, boxed food and meat.”

 The Salvation Army food pantry is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 415 River St.

The Salvation Army food pantry is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 415 River St.

In November, the pantry gave out 125 turkeys. In the summer, it was stocked with local fruits and vegetables.

The pantry raises food and accepts donations through the Catholic Community of Manistee. Checks can be addressed to the Catholic Community of Manistee with a note that it’s for the food pantry.

For seniors, the Manistee County Council on Aging hosts a food pantry at 457 River St. in Manistee from 1 to 3 p.m. on the third Friday of each month. The pantry does not distribute in December. Donations can be brought to the pantry from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In Brethren, the Brethren Boosters food pantry will be open from 9 a.m. to noon on Dec. 18 at the Lakeview Church of the Brethren at 14049 Brethren Heights Road.

According to organizer Carissa Smith, anyone can use the pantry. It sees visitors from all parts of the county.

“There’s no judgement passed,” Smith said. “It’s not our place to judge you while you are here, we just don’t want you to be hungry.”

Right now, the pantry is seeking holiday meal items and food for kids. The pantry is staffed by volunteers; some deliver the food for disabled or elderly people.

More information on the food pantry is available by calling the church at (231) 477-5060.

Though the Onekama food pantry’s distribution is typically on the fourth Friday of the month, organizers moved the December distribution to 10 a.m. on Dec. 19. The pantry is located at 8380 Fifth St. in Onekama.

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Posted by Eric Sagonowsky

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