ACTION Ministries continues to serve the community

DOWAGIAC — Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACTION Ministries food pantry has continued to serve the community with food donations as the situation trails on.

However, the nonprofit ministry’s fixed food pantry hours from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday has continued to evolve to meet the needs of the friends it serves.

“The big deal now is unpredictability of the patrons coming into the food pantry,” said Jeff Neumann, the media liaison.

Neumann said the food pantry had two successful weeks serving more than 80 people. Once stimulus checks hit and extra food stamps were allotted, the pantry dwindled down to serving 25 families. The pantry typically serves 40 to 55 families a week. In the past, the pantry’s high has been 75 families served.

“Part of that we are thinking is because May has five Saturdays, and people may be saving up for later on,” he said.

When families sign up for the ACTION Ministries Food pantry, they receive a food box twice per every calendar month.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Neumann said ACTION Ministries has signed up a large number of people for the first time and has started offering preregistration.

Families interested in preregistration can go on ACTION Ministries’ Facebook and fill out the form for the number of people in their family and what kind of items they would like. 

ACTION Ministries volunteers prefill the families’ boxes and then families can pick up their food donations from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

“We’ve been serving 20 to 30 people a week that way,” Neumann said. “We instituted the drive-up service and then we let in two people in the building at a time to stand in line. Then we allow two to three more people in as the others are filling out paperwork at a table. Therefore, there are never more than five clients in the building at a time.”

In addition, Neumann said staff are disinfecting tables and other objects often.

“We have even instituted clean pens and dirty pens. We are taking a lot of precautions,” he said.

Volunteers with the ministry are also wearing face masks and gloves. As the families come in to pick up their food donations, they also receive a dash of hand sanitizer.

Since April 1, Neumann said ACTION Ministries has had an outpouring of financial donations from people who believe in the mission.

“One person drove up in the car — I thought they were going to sign up for food. He stuck a $50 bill out the window, and I said, ‘can we give you a thank you note,’” Neumann said. “He said, ‘no we’re good.’ It’s just a great story.”

Neumann said with more cash donations, ACTION Ministries has the option to buy goods at the grocery store in addition to the routine shopping done through Feeding America.

At this time, Neumann said a lot of families also need toilet paper.

“The people we have talked to have said that it has been a real blessing,” Neumann said.

Neumann said a big part of ACTION Ministries’ operation is being able to sit down and chat with people who come in. Neumann said the ministry is eager to be able to interact with people after the COVID-19 pandemic slows down.

“We try to provide a time to chat, a time to get a hug and time to shake hands and mull over life,” he said of Saturday’s pantries prior to social distancing. “I think people have appreciated it.”

Dowagiac

SMC to produce radio show featuring Dewey Lake monster

Business

Niles Apple Festival Harvest Market aims to showcase vendors, food trucks

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan sees 117,910 cases, 6,680 deaths

Berrien County

Niles man gets probation for criminal sexual conduct

Berrien County

Public Safety Warning issued following multiple vehicle break-ins in Berrien County

Dowagiac

DUS approves hire of new Sister Lakes assistant principal

News

Niles Charter Township board approves millages for ballot

Buchanan

Buchanan Art Center donates more than $1,500 to RAM

Dowagiac

DUS approves ICG site improvement plan

News

Niles pastor takes vocals to park

Berrien County

MDARD reminding schools, businesses to only use EPA-approved disinfectants

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan sees 117,406 cases, 6,665 deaths

Dowagiac

Dowagiac City Council authorizes loans for sanitary sewer improvements

News

Local organization hosts voter registration, cookout

Berrien County

Michigan Works! announces support for front line workers

Dowagiac

Sept. 21 Dowagiac weather report

Berrien County

Michigan Teen Safe Driving program enters 10th year

Berrien County

Free virtual cancer symposium open to providers, public

Education

Niles Community Schools’ remote platform allows students to go at own pace

Business

Dowagiac business donates backpacks, school supplies to students in need

Cassopolis

Miss Cassopolis Scholarship Program hosting school supply drive

Berrien County

Berrien County Health department gets blunt on marijuana education, safety

Cass County

Two Dowagiac men sentenced Friday in Cass County Court

Cass County

Cass County works to expand broadband access