East Lansing organizations help families during holiday season

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Flyer for the holiday food drive

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pumpkin pie are staples of traditional Thanksgiving fare. However, rising costs due to the aftermath of the pandemic mean not everyone can afford to tuck into a Thanksgiving meal. The City of East Lansing’s Parks, Recreation, and Arts department has partnered with the Greater Lansing Food Bank to give back to the community and host a holiday food drive. Donations of nonperishable goods can be dropped off at the Hannah Community Center ​​819 Abbot Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823 Nov. 1-15. The city hopes to fill two 96-gallon bins with donations that will go to the food bank.

Director of Parks, Recreation, and Arts Cathy DeShambo said, “The Greater Lansing Food Bank has the capacity to serve our entire region and is a great partner. We already partner with them each year by donating all the venison from the City’s annual deer removal, so this was a seamless transition to make.” 

The Greater Lansing Food Bank is a nonprofit that safely stores food for delivery to local food pantries and programs. In the 2021 fiscal year, the food bank distributed 11,584,995 pounds of food.

Brady Broderick, corporate and community giving specialist for the food bank said, “When folks donate to GLFB they are helping to create meals for neighbors facing food insecurity. This is done through our amazing network of more than 140 partners across seven counties.” 

Although this is the city’s first holiday food drive, DeShambo said the community is always willing to help. Furthermore, after residents drop off their items, they can enter a raffle to win prizes including pottery and water park passes. 

Other organizations throughout East Lansing also provide food year round. The food cupboard in Saint John Church and Student Center is open 9-11 a.m. Saturdays during the academic year. The cupboard distributes around 4,000 bags of groceries and personal care items around East Lansing. 

Chuck Roboski, who works with the Saint Vincent de Paul society at Saint John’s, said “Every guest to the Food Cupboard is able to fill one large bag with dry goods and personal care items. Additionally, we provide a selection of produce and a Meijer food gift card with a value of $10.” 

The pantry is available to residents of East Lansing, parishioners, and Michigan State students with a valid student ID. Roboski said that around 70% of the people the pantry serves are MSU students. The pantry is in St. John’s Church and student center at 327 M. A. C. Ave., East Lansing, MI 48823.

Food cupboard manager Liz Pahl said, “We sponsor 22 families each Christmas for 4 presents/child, food and needed items to make their Christmas bright!”

People looking to receive assistance from the Greater Lansing Food Bank can call 517-853-7800 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to find their closest food distributor. Those looking to use the food cupboard can go to the church 9-11 a.m. on Saturdays

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