March 25 ē 06:40 AM

One dollar, one gesture, one kind word

July 01, 2009
It's Sunday night and I'm tossing about trying to figure out how to fill this space this week. Usually the column is written by the time I leave here on Friday, but this week nothing was coming out.

That's when the universe steps in to take care of it for me.

It is now Monday morning and I realize the column is writing itself. It starts with a message on my answering machine. It's from Freddie Abro, the owner of the Capac Food Center. I'm a little surprised and a little concerned—hoping that my editorial last week about the sad closing of another family store—Almont Food Pride—wasn't upsetting to him. You never know how people are going to read things, I've learned. My intentions are often misconstrued, which only grieves me because I'm supposed to be a communicator so I wonder how can I miss the mark so often?

In this case, my stewing is unwarranted. Fred is opening his heart to me. He's had the Capac store for the past 11 years but he has never seen a time like this right now.

Freddie is a good family man, a man of faith, a hard worker and a believer in hard work. His family is the same, and they are close and loving.

As an independent grocer in a chain store world he's got a bit of a mountain to climb but he's managed to do it for the past 11 years. He continues to do so. But now he needs some help. He needs us to shop at his store.

The Abros have always been there whenever any civic or youth group or organization has needed assistance. They've always supported the community and done so without fanfare or even much acknowledgement at all. People who know Freddie and his family know how kind they are, and that seems acknowledgement enough for them.

But today he tells me that they're on the brink. They need the community to be there for them now if the store is to survive. He says he needs a person of faith, a person of God and belief to step in and offer a bail out, some temporary relief so they can weather the storm.

Freddie says that the shelves are fairly well stocked—there may be an item or two missing but for the most part the store continues to carry everything a family needs in the way of groceries.

The Capac Food Center (formerly the Capac IGA) has been an important part of the community for decades. It would be a terrible loss if the store does not survive. Think of it—no more options, no more choices but to burn the fossil fuel to pick up a bag of chips or a pound of ground meat and some buns. What's more, independent grocers can take active roles in supporting the community—as the Abros have demonstrated. No big corporate rules and regulations to follow, no mounds of red tape to wade through to seek permission to make a donation, allow a car wash or youth group homeless awareness camp out at the store...

The Capac Road bridge over I-69 is now open in both directions—there is no delay so access to the Capac Food Center is easy.

Last week I wrote about one person exhibiting one act of kindness that made a huge difference in the lives of one family. This week, maybe all of us can be that one person and make a difference with our grocery dollars—even if it is just for an item or two...

And since we're talking groceries, here's more food for thought from reader Carolyn Laarman. She lives in Lewiston, Michigan now but keeps in touch with her hometown through these pages. She, too, enjoyed last week's column about human kindness:

"We need more articles such as this. I enjoyed it so much. Don't we all wish we could do as this gentleman did...what a kind person he is.

"I am always concerned about people and their welfare. I'm not going to brag in my upcoming sentences but for a couple years I would put aside $5 a week and buy $20 of groceries a month for a food pantry up here. Then for a year or so, I purchased baby clothes (from the dollar store in town). I had a couple ladies check them out and they thought they were well made and darling as I did and found good places to take them and now, last Christmas I did the toy bit. I already have Christmas taken care of and waiting in the basement for Dec. Sure, I got them on sale but they are nice. Anyway, what I am saying is, even if someone could put a dollar a week away they could help. It really makes the giver feel good. The gentleman (in your column) was extremely generous.

"For quite some time, I would tell my husband that I wished the news would have a portion of the news concerning kindness. Well, hey, guess what? NBC now does just that and I love it.

Keep up your good work. Keep it up for the American people may have to thrive on stories like this for a while."

Thank you Carolyn. You're right.There's more to come, waiting in my email inbox. It seems others were inspired by last week's column as well...

Email Catherine at

Castle Creek
03 - 25 - 19
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