Food bank changes distribution to add items for holidays year-round

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Volunteers work to organize food distribution for the Holt Community Food Bank.

Courtesy of Holt Community Food Bank

Volunteers work to organize food distribution for the Holt Community Food Bank. The organization relies on donations of time, money, food or other essential items.

A change in food distribution at the Holt Community Food Bank is helping areas families provide holiday meals throughout the year.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the food bank limited its November food pickup to items for a Thanksgiving meal. But the organization moved its November pickup to a normal supply, with some additional items for Thanksgiving, allowing it to spread its resources throughout the year.

Officials said the chance is allowing them to add additional items to other pickups for holidays during those months.

“For their monthly visit to us, we just throw it in there in addition to what they get regularly,” food bank coordinator Marni Swanson said. 

“By doing that, we’ve been able to, then, do something special for Christmas, whether it be just … buying an extra ham, and pineapple, brown sugar and a side dish to go with that. So then people can have a Christmas dinner too,” she said. “Instead of just having one huge celebration for Thanksgiving, we’ve been able to take that money and spread (it) out.”

The food bank has been operating for more than 20 years and started with just two men who attended Holt First Presbyterian Church and would keep nonperishables in their cars so they would be prepared to help if someone needed it.

On its website, the Holt Community Food Bank explains it would not be able to do its work without the support of the community. 

Supermarkets, like the Kroger in Holt also help. Kroger provides food that is getting close to the expiration date for the food bank to give out. Holt Community Food Bank has a volunteer who goes every day other than Christmas to pick these items up so they can be provided to those who need them. 

Supporters can donate time, supplies or money to help feed a family for a week out of the month. Supports have helped those who might be food insecure in other ways as well, Swanson said. 

“We have a very strong community,” she said. “The whole community added a ton of little free pantries throughout the township where community members can go and drop food off and then you can go pick it up.” 

For information on how to get help from the Holt Community Food Bank, call 517-694-9307. The organization’s website also provides details on how to get help, or how to help the organization.

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