Churches cooperate on Feed a Neighbor drive

ISHPEMING – Wesley United Methodist Church in Ishpeming is launching its fourth annual Feed a Neighbor program Saturday.

Volunteers will drop off bags at west Marquette County residences Saturday with a tag on them with directions. Residents of Ishpeming, Negaunee, Republic, Michigamme and Champion will be asked to fill these bags with nonperishable food, paper products and hygiene products and put them on the curb in the morning on April 27.

“There will be 7,000 plastic bags distributed door-to-door on Saturday,” said Dick Derby, Feed a Neighbor organizer.

In previous years this program only targeted the Ishpeming area, but this year’s drive was expanded to the other areas, Derby said. Mitchell United Methodist Church in Negaunee is now helping to expand the program to their area. The Pioneer Kiwanis of Ishpeming has volunteered to cover the Republic, Michigamme and Champion area.

“The purpose of this program is to restock the food pantries of the Salvation Army and what amounts to three St. Vincent de Paul stores,” Derby said.

The program is planned deliberately for this season when it’s known the pantries are low on supplies, Derby said. The donation from Feed a Neighbor will carry the pantries into the fall, he said.

“The need is always great and the drive is specifically timed for spring because the food pantries are empty from the big Canathon drives in the fall and Christmas times,” Derby said.

Last year Feed a Neighbor collected more than 6,000 pounds of donations and the hope is to do even better this year with the expanded areas, Derby said. In Republic and surrounding areas, about 500 bags will be handed out to area churches and business.

“The houses are just so spread out that we can’t get to all of them,” he said

Residents in that area can pick up bags and drop them off at St. Augustine Church, Republic United Methodist Church, Bethany Lutheran Church, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Summer Place in Champion or any St. Vincent de Paul store.

For more information on Feed a Neighbor call Wesley United Methodist Church at 486-4681.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.