Corrina Ottinger presents $100 Thursday afternoon to Marilyn Dye at St. VIncent de Paul on W. Railroad Street. Ottinger received the money from Modern Woodmen insurance company in recognition of her volunteerism to present to a non-profit. She selected the Catholic thrift store where her aunt works in hopes of raising community awareness about what it offers the community. (The Daily News/John Eby)
Corrina Ottinger presents $100 Thursday afternoon to Marilyn Dye at St. VIncent de Paul on W. Railroad Street. Ottinger received the money from Modern Woodmen insurance company in recognition of her volunteerism to present to a non-profit. She selected the Catholic thrift store where her aunt works in hopes of raising community awareness about what it offers the community. (The Daily News/John Eby)

Archived Story

Cortina Ottinger pays it forward with $100 to St. Vincent de Paul

Published 10:09am Friday, January 22, 2010

By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News

Corrina (Abiney) Ottinger plants trees for Modern Woodman insurance company, bakes as a PTO mom at Patrick Hamilton Middle School and pops corn every other Friday.
She’s been planting trees for at least three years.

Last summer’s went in front of Cass District Library in Cassopolis.

The 1984 Union High School graduate also does extra for Cass County Council on Aging beyond her job duties of caring for a woman for two hours until 12:30 p.m.

“I go shopping for her at night,” Ottinger said Thursday afternoon as she presented $100 to Marilyn Dye at St. Vincent de Paul, the thrift shop on W. Railroad Street in Dowagiac supported by Holy Maternity of Mary Catholic Church.

As far as volunteering, “Whatever anybody needs, I’m there,” she said.

“I bring in a lot of stuff for school bake sales. I make peanut butter fudge and my husband (Dave) makes homemade Suzy Q’s,” a cream-filled treat like a chocolate Twinkie.

“If people give me $20, I make them two batches of peanut butter fudge. I like to cook. I cook a lot for this woman” at the COA.

“A man who lives at Stone Lake Woods Apartments” in Cassopolis, “every three weeks I clean his house. I let people know I’ll help them cook, clean, shop. I’m not out to make a buck because I know they don’t have a lot.”

Modern Woodman presented her a $100 voucher in recognition of her volunteering.
In turn, she decided what non-profit organization she felt needed it.

“I picked these guys,” she gestures at Dye and her Aunt Flossie, “because they do so much for the public, but they don’t get recognized. They need to be noticed in town that they’re here and could use donations. Plus, come in and look at what they’ve got for really reasonable prices.”

Dowagiac’s St. Vincent de Paul store has existed for at least 45 years.
“Josh (Norris) was here 37 years and I’ve been here eight,” Dye said. “It used to be a liquor warehouse that belonged to John Nate. I think part of it was a feed store a long time ago, and one side had coal. We found birdseed in the walls when we remodeled – but no money.

“We had raccoons. Josh used to have my daughter catch them because she had a trap, then he’d say, ‘Take them out in the woods and let them go.’ ”

“God provides for us, so I don’t worry about it. Somehow we always get enough to survive,” said Marilyn, who works four days a week.

St. Vincent de Paul is open five weekdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hours on state food commodity days are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second Tuesday and the third Wednesday every third month starting in February (Feb.  9 and 19).

“They have to sign up for that,” Dye said. “They have to come in and bring proof of income, proof of where they live, driver’s license and Social Security cards for everybody in the family.”

Commodities, which started in the ’80s with those two-pound blocks of surplus cheese, grew to encompass canned fruits and vegetables, juice, dry milk, peanut butter, egg noodles, spaghetti and name brand and generic cereals.

Where Dye loves oatmeal, Ottinger dislikes it and prefers Cream of Wheat, turning up her nose at the “gross” grits her dad enjoys.

Corrina said they have a lot of fish fries from her husband ice fishing.

Dave’s taking college courses to be an electronic technician.

“People really don’t know it’s here,” Ottinger said.

“They get bread and desserts from Family Fare. When it gets almost outdated, they give it away. They gave out so much for Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

“The only thing we can’t do is pay their bills,” Dye said. “We don’t make enough for that.”

Dye said St. Vincent de Paul packed 210 boxes of food for Thanksgiving and 189 boxes of food for Christmas.

“They have a good selection of clothes here,” Ottinger said.

Dye said food distributed includes a two-week supply of staples such as macaroni and cheese, canned goods, boxed foods, vegetables, spaghetti (“if I give you spaghetti, I give you hamburger to make it with”) and tuna.

“It’s probably $25 to $30 in groceries that we give out to everybody,” Dye said. “Christmas boxes were worth $40 or more. Some of the bigger families got turkeys, and I gave ham besides at Christmas and Thanksgiving. We had over $1,000 in meat.”

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  • Lynn Roberts

    After reading this I just thought whats this story suppost to be about? It seemed like it was SUPPOST to be about a donation given. This is one of the worse stories i have ever read inthe
    Dowagiac Daily News. How did it get from a donation to what they like to eat? And i see that Mrs Dye is frequently mentioned as a 6 yr worker there at St Paul, When I have been going there for YEARS and have NOT seen her in there 4 days a week and I go there almost daily. The only people I uasauly see there is a lady name Flossy and a bunch of her girls in there working to take care of the donations. This story really upsets me because Mrs Dye was given alot of credit in it when she is NOT there often and her husband prices things so outragous that some of the things that are priced you can go to family dollar and get cheaper for the exact same thing I mean people GIVE these items to St PAUL for the needy people to buy i bet if some of those generous people that have donated would have a fit about the prices of the things that MR Dyes marks on the things I mean COME ON its the POOR people and low income people that go there to shop and cant afford the prices. now the clothing is very cheap but for instance there is a hutch cabitnet down there right now marked for $185 and the wood is worped andf its been ther a while so you would think Mr Dye would take a hint and lower the prices so that they could sell the things to get the money to buy more food for the people that do have to go get help. However I feel that if any one should get credit for making that place run smoothly it should be that lil lady name Flossy and her daughters. And for the day old food they talk about from family fare i have went in there and yes some of it is free but there was others that was for sale like cake decorations , candy , cookies, gum ect. and they said it is given free no thats no always the case. But anyways if any one should get any honar or thank you like i said it should be Flossy and her daughters! thank you MRS Roberts

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