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During this time when many are facing difficulty and constant change, we wanted to take time to share an update with you from the local organizations that our CROP Hunger Walk supports in our local community. 25% of the overall Saint Joseph/Blossomland CROP Hunger Walk funds are sent to Benton Harbor Street Ministries, Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army of Saint Joseph, Bread of Heaven Food Pantry of Berrien Springs, Catholic Community Center, and Fairplain Presbyterian Church Food Bank. Below are updates from these agencies on how they are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Salvation Army, Benton Harbor services Berrien County and half of VanBuren county. We do rental and utility assistance when funding is available, emergency food boxes, and we have a men’s shelter from 5pm til 9am 7 days a week. Because of the pandemic, our shelter is open 24/7 so the guys have a place to “stay at home”. We are housing less people and limiting when we accept new people so that we can avoid being exposed to new people every day and so far are in good health! NOT THIS SUMMER, but MOST summers we provide camping experiences for children finishing 1st grade through 12th grade. Any questions please call Major Marina Womack at 269-270-4006. Thanks and God bless you!
Fairplain Presbyterian Church Food Bank is working each day to get 170 bagged lunches out for the Soup Kitchen, and has their food pantry open on Thursdays.
Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen
Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen has shifted from hot lunch to sack lunch and a bottle of water. They are serving every day, despite having several of our serving groups decline to continue service under these conditions. The Soup Kitchen has many added costs for food and for packaging, with sack lunches cost 1 1/2 times as much as hot lunches! They have had many calls from people willing to volunteer, but for everyone's safety, they are keeping to a small number of staff and volunteers in the kitchen. So the new volunteers will have to wait until it is more safe.
The Community Food Pantry at Fairplain Presbyterian Church
They are able to spend 100% of the revenue they receive toward the purchase of food for the needy of Northern Berrien County. This is made possible in that the church covers all overhead expenses such as lighting, heating/air conditioning, telephone, pest control, office needs, etc. In the past year, almost all of our purchases have come from two sources; Feeding America and Aldi (when Feeding America doesn't have the things we need).
Recently, since Covid-19, our number of clients per week has dropped off. I'm sure this is due to several things connected to the stimulus plan and our normal donors. Also, at this time, Aldi is refusing to let us order in bulk. Their warehouses are going crazy just trying to keep up with the increased load of their everyday traffic. I was told that possibly in August they may be able to start taking bulk orders again.
This hasn't hurt too badly yet, but in a week or it will.
Together, we can help end hunger in our community and around the world.
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