March 31, 2016

Volunteers and local organizations are key in helping the Holt Community Food Bank

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By Austin Short
Holt Journal Staff Reporter

The Holt Community Food Bank has been helping families in need for over 20 years now, with the help of local volunteers and organizations leading the way.

The local food bank relies heavily on grants, food and cash donations year -ound, but also holds fundraisers. Other local organizations donate food or money as well.

The Holt Kroger is extremely supportive of the food bank giving bread, baked goods, produce and frozen meats. Bonnie Mahieu, Holt Community Food Bank Coordinator, estimates that Kroger donates hundreds of pounds of food every week.

Assistant Manager of the Holt Kroger Jim O’Connor said, “It’s the right thing to do. There’s a lot of people in need and we can help make a difference. They do all the work. They pick it up, transport it so we are just a small part of a great cause.”

The Mason Meijer also supports the food bank through its corporate campaign called Simply Give. In the spring, fall and during the holidays the program offers customers the opportunity to donate in $10 increments. Meijer matches the donations and then gives the money to the food banks so they have the flexibility to order whatever is in demand in their community.

Families served at the Holt Community Food Bank over the last few years. February was so low because of snow days that shut down the food bank. Chart courtesy of Holt Community Food Bank

Families served at the Holt Community Food Bank over the last few years. February was so low because of snow days that shut down the food bank. March is incomplete as the chart was made at the beginning of the month.
Chart courtesy of Holt Community Food Bank

Fundraisers held by the Holt First Presbyterian Church, the Kiwanis Club of Holt, and Riverview Church in Holt also contribute to the cause. Other donors include the Messiah Lutheran Church in Holt and the Holt Lions Club.

The local organizations are crucial to the success of a food bank just like the volunteers are. The Holt Community Food Bank has 40 people volunteering a week and around 130-140 people a year. They show their volunteers appreciation with a luncheon in April at the Holt First Presbyterian Church.

“The purpose of the Holt Food Bank is to help people in a desperate situation, and our volunteers try to help with a sense of humor and a smile on their face,” said Mahieu.

Mahieu also touched on the fact that the Holt Community Food Bank exists because of the community and for the community.

This chart gives information on eligibility for emergency food assistance, from places like the Holt Community Food Bank, based off of income in your household. Chart courtesy of TEFAP at michigan.gov

This chart gives information on eligibility for emergency food assistance, from places like the Holt Community Food Bank, based off of income in your household.
Chart courtesy of TEFAP at michigan.gov

“I’ve had people that have gone through their rough patch and have come back to volunteer or make a donation,” said Mahieu.

Even local firefighters help put away inventory when orders come in and also help bring shopping carts out to the family’s cars.

“We are really blessed, it’s an amazing group of volunteers,” said Mahieu. “I had a group of girl scouts come in and they were so cute and excited about bringing in their favorite cereal to help someone have breakfast. They were wonderful.”

The Holt Community Food Bank is located next to the Holt First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Holt Road and N. Aurelieus Road. Map courtesy of Google Maps

The Holt Community Food Bank is located next to the Holt First Presbyterian Church at the corner of Holt Road and N. Aurelieus Road.
Map courtesy of Google Maps

To find out if you are eligible for assistance from the Holt Community Food Bank you can call the Capital Area Community Services at 517-676-1065.

Once eligible the size of your food assistance all depends on the size of your family, which accounts for permanent residents of the house only. Families can make an appointment by calling the food bank at 517-694-9307. Clients choose what kind of fruits, and veggies they want which comes with other predetermined supplies depending on their inventory.

They also supply people with household necessities such as soap, toothpaste and toiletries. If you have a birthday in the family that month they will even give you a birthday cake.

The Holt Community Food Bank distribution hours are Monday 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Tuesday through Thursday 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can donate to the cause at 2021 N. Aurelieus Road and online. Volunteers are always appreciated as well.