Granger Community Church food drop supports southwest Michigan food pantries

CASSOPOLIS — This week, employees at local food pantry Helping Hands of Cass County are looking at full shelves.

“I’ve got two industrial shelves, and they are full,” said Mary Tompi, Helping Hands coordinator. “The people at Granger [Community Church] packed them.”

Helping Hands of Cass County was one of 12 different pantries across Michiana to receive donations of nonperishable food items during Granger Community Church’s annual Food Drop on Jan. 23. Helping Hands received 3,150 pounds in food donations from the event. In total, 6,000 boxes of food were donated to area families through the event.

Also in southwest Michigan, the Food Drop supported the Edwardsburg Food Pantry in Edwardsburg and Christian Service Center in Niles.

In addition to the 12 food pantries, food was donated to three homeless shelters and 12 neighborhoods Mishawaka, South Bend, Elkhart, Goshen, Nappanee, New Carlisle, Niles, Buchanan, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg.

“This Food Drop is coordinated through a partnership with Granger Community Church (GCC), IRBN Foods, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana and Lippert Components,” said Jami Ruth, communications coordinator for Granger Community Church. “Other local organizations that are partnering to make this event a success are Budget Blinds, McCormick Motors and Around the Bin Movers.”

On the day of the Food Drop, more than 1,000 volunteers gathered outside to make the charitable event a success.

As the representatives for an organization that received boxes from the Food Drop, Tompi said she was grateful to the staff and volunteers at Granger Community Church.

“It was a very generous donation,” Tompi said. “The items are much needed for our food boxes. Last year, we served almost 3,500 people just from our food pantry, and the food from Granger just helps so much to be able to continue serving that amount and more.”

Tompi estimates the donation to Helping Hands from the Food Drop would help more than 400 families in Cass County. That extra help is all the more needed following a difficult 2020, Tompi said. As the food pantry looks towards the rest of 2021, she hopes Helping Hands of Cass County can continue to serve and meet Cass County’s needs.

So far in January, Helping Hands has served 150 individuals in need throughout Cass County. With the donation from Granger Community Church and others who support the pantry, Tompi hopes to serve many more individuals throughout the year.

“This is an awesome start to the new year,” she said. “It is a blessing.”

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