Cassopolis/Vandalia chamber donates to area food pantries

Published 9:25 am Thursday, December 30, 2021

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CASSOPOLIS — One area organization celebrated the holiday season by giving back to the community.

Last week, representatives with the Cassopolis/Vandalia Chamber of commerce dropped off food donations collected by area businesses, along with $1,000 each to food pantries operated by Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Cassopolis and Vandalia Church of God.

According to president Billie Hires, the chamber began collecting monetary donations and non-perishable food items around Thanksgiving in an effort to support local pantries. Hires said it did not take long for the community and local businesses to put their support behind the project. Area residents were able to drop off items at Bolt LTD in Cassopolis, and they would receive a custom Christmas ornament from Bolt LTD. The staff and employees at CHT USA in Cassopolis collected and donated a large number of items. Other members mailed in checks, and some dropped off cash.

“Our businesses really surprised us in their donations, especially CHT, which donated probably 90 percent of the non-perishable items,” Hires said. “It’s important for the chamber to give back to the community.”

Representatives of the food pantries said they were grateful to the community for the donations, saying that between the money and food items, they will be able to feed their clients for several months.

“We are incredibly grateful and so thankful that the chamber was so generous to give us both the food donation and the cash donation, which will really help our efforts,” said Pastor Paul Doellinger, of Saint Paul Lutheran in Cassopolis. “There is certainly a need in our community.”

“It was overwhelming,” added Corliss Denise Bufkin, Vandalia Church of God pantry director and wife of Pastor Rayvon Bufkin. “We will be able to buy thousands of pounds of food with the donation. It’s going to help so many. It’s going to help us tremendously.”

While Hires said the chamber was happy to give during the holiday season, she stressed that she hopes the community will continue to support the food pantries all year long.

“Hunger knows no season,” she said. “We stress giving around the holidays, but it is important we continue it throughout the year. I really hope the community will come together to support these pantries year-round.”

Bufkin agreed that the need does not go away after the holidays, and said she is thankful for the many organizations and individuals who regularly support the pantry. Currently, she said her pantry is in need of volunteers capable of lifting heavy boxes.

Doellinger said support is needed in all seasons.

“We are always looking for assistance to continue because [the pantry] is such an important need in our community,” he said.

To volunteer with Vandalia Church of God or to donate, contact Bufkin at (574) 262-8629 or (574) 333-6018.

To volunteer with Saint Paul Lutheran in Cassopolis or to donate, contact the church at (269) 445-3950.