Holt Community Food Bank, located on the grounds of Holt First Presbyterian Church, is the only food bank in Holt and Delhi Township. It was started 20 years ago by two members of the congregation after discovering that there were members in the church who were having difficulties making ends meet.
What is so unique about Holt Community Food Bank is that it is exclusively run by volunteers in and outside of the community who are dedicated to serving by donating groceries and helping to prepare bags of food for those who are in need.
According to Bonnie Mahieu, the food bank’s coordinator, all donations and food contributions come from people in the community, local businesses, churches, and local grocery stores like Kroger and Meijer.
Mahieu also explained that HCFB is only dedicated to serving Holt residents. In order to receive services there is a criteria that the family has to meet.
To make sure that the groceries are going to families in Holt, you must first be a resident by showing some short of proof of residency like a housing lease. Families must also show proof of income stating that they do have a need by being below the federal poverty line.
According to one of HCFB board of directors members, Barb Sherbino, the amount of food that each family receives depends on the family size. The families with the least amount of people gets less food than families with the most; that way, food gets distributed evenly.
“Having community food banks are important because it can save lives,” Sherbino said. “People lose their jobs everyday and bills just don’t stop coming in because of it. In these cases, parents then have to decide whether they pay their rent so that they can have a place to live and have their kids eat at school or buy groceries then have their lights turned off.”
Jasmine Jones, a volunteer at Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan, commends HCFB for their years of dedication and service to their community.
Jones said, “It takes hard work and commitment to serve as a volunteer. It gets rough but when you are meant to serve you will get through it.”
Small communities like the congregation are important because they allow people to interact with each other, share experiences, develop valued relationships, and work toward a common goal which is to help people in that community.