June 18 10:12 PM

Food bank fills void during tough times

Volunteers at Attica's Methodist church step up to help out

Volunteers unload another delivery from the Eastern Michigan Food Bank.

April 14, 2010
ATTICA — With countless residents still without jobs and rising fear that unemployment benefits will inevitably reach their end, many individuals and families are looking to local food banks for assistance.

To help fill the void, members of Attica United Methodist Church have been opening their doors and providing basic food supplies to those in need.

Volunteer Frits Bax, who coordinates the church's food bank program, says there is no evidence that the need for food supplies is decreasing.

"I think the need is actually increasing," says Bax. "We're coming across a lot of people whose unemployment is on the verge of running out. It may be, too, that a lot more people are now aware that we are here."

Bax says he and fellow volunteers, Bill Winslow, Carol Brown and J.R. Lomerson recently traversed to the Eastern Michigan Food Bank in Burton, where they stocked up on items for local families experiencing hardship.

"We go through the reclamation areas and we're given a half-hour time slot to pick up what we need," he says. "We left there with more than 2,400 pounds of food items."

Bax says the church is charged for each item per weight, with the cost being paid for through donations from church members and the community.

Some of the items most recently acquired from the Eastern Michigan Food Bank include: milk, cheese, various meats, bread and baked goods, pastas, soups, butter, apples, peanut butter, bottled water, produce and various bulk goods.

"We appeal to the congregation for donations," says Bax. "We recently got a nice donation from the Imlay City Eagles Club. We appreciate any and all support."

After returning to the church, all the items were sorted, boxed and otherwise prepped for collection by food bank patrons.

The Attica Food Bank is open from 2-4 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of every month. The next opportunity to pick up goods will be Mon., April 12.

Bax noted that those seeking food items must show some evidence that they are experiencing hardship. He added that senior citizens are automatically eligible.

"Now that more people know about us, we are limiting utilization of the food bank to once a month per customer," says Bax.

He says the congregation is also contemplating adding a soup kitchen, similar to the one at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Imlay City.

Bax says about 12-15 church members regularly volunteer to assist at the food bank. Greater numbers might be needed if the church is to offer a soup kitchen.

"Our volunteers love doing this," he says. "There is a great deal of satisfaction in helping others."

For more information about the Attica Food Bank, contact Pastor Margie Bryce at 810-724-0690. Or call Frits Bax at 810-724-8787.

The Attica United Methodist Church is located at 27 Elk Lake Road in Attica.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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