CARSON CITY — As the national economy remains in an uncertain state and people struggle to find work and pay the bills, local food and baby pantries quietly continue to operate, offering a critical service to the community.
These organizations are almost entirely volunteer-based, including the Carson City Area Food Pantry based at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Carson City.
The food pantry served a total of 1,047 families last year, down 143 families from the year before. Grazina Giroux, who manages the food pantry, said despite the slight decrease in families served, the pantry remains a necessary service to local residents.
“The need is there,” Giroux said. “We move tremendous amounts of food every month.”
The food pantry is open from 10 a.m. to noon every Tuesday and serves Carson City, Crystal, Hubbardston and surrounding areas. People are welcome to use the food pantry once a month.
The food pantry’s core volunteer group is comprised of about two dozen people, including Al and Louie Adkins, who attend Mud Lake Community Church near Sheridan, and Doris Elliott, who attends Carson City United Methodist Church.
“I enjoy helping people,” said Al Adkins, who is retired from Federal-Mogul in Greenville.
“It gets me out of the house and helps me see people,” added Elliott, who is retired from Carson City Hospital.
The main needs of the food pantry, which is entirely funded by donations, include canned meats and soups, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, pancake mix and syrup, cereal and toilet paper. Food pantry volunteers also like to have candy and cookies on hand to distribute to the oldest and youngest visitors of the pantry.
“It’s a mix of all ages,” said Giroux of the people the pantry serves. “They are always very grateful.”
The food pantry also has a “free shopping” feature, in which people are allowed to take items other than food, including donated clothes, shoes and small appliances.
The pantry is housed in the basement of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Volunteers credit pastoral director Nancy Woodcock and other St. Mary’s officials for allowing the pantry to be housed there for free.
Call St. Mary’s Catholic Church at (989) 584-6044 for more information about the Carson City Area Food Pantry, or write to PO Box 166, Carson City, MI 48811.
Another community service in the Carson City area is aimed at helping expectant mothers in difficult situations.
Carson City Area Pregnancy Services places empty, refurbished dressers in the vestibules of local churches to collect newly purchased donations for newborn babies. Specific items needed include crib sheets, infant sleepers, infant socks, infant onsies, plastic pants, washcloths, mattress pads, cloth diapers, diaper pins, bibs and bottles.
The “dresser donation” program is a multi-church effort, according to organizer Kathy Waldron, who attends St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
“A woman might be expecting a child during difficult circumstances,” Waldron said. “We’re trying to ease her load. This is an effort to reaffirm and support a woman’s decision to have her baby under difficult circumstances. You can be told by so many people there’s no way you can make it through, but sometimes just that little bit of help can make all the difference.”
The pregnancy service is partially funded by an annual donation from the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese, as well as donations from community members year-round. For more information about Carson City Area Pregnancy Services and the dresser donation program, call (989) 235-6424.