Mobile food pantry at Odawa

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Manna Food Project’s drive-thru, mobile food pantry held weekly at Odawa Casino has served more families in need than anticipated—so the program has been extended into June.

Originally scheduled through May 22, the mobile will continue to distribute food on Fridays through June 5. Manna staff and volunteers will distribute pre-assembled food boxes with an assortment of shelf-stable items, along with a bag of fresh and frozen items, from noon to 3 p.m.

Exactly 100 families showed up to the first distribution on May 1. Word of the event spread over the radio, thanks to Big Country 102.9 and Lite 96.3. And on the second Friday, over 200 families received assistance.

“The line just didn’t end,” says Jessyca Stoepker, Manna’s Program and Volunteer Coordinator. “We registered car after car, two at a time. Our volunteers loading the food were on their feet for hours, and we actually had to call in ‘reinforcements’ to restock supplies.”

After the third distribution on May 15 served nearly 200 families once again, Manna and KorthaseFlinn Insurance, who sponsored the program with Auto-Owners Insurance, had to decide whether to end the program after May 22 as scheduled, or to continue longer.

“Clearly, the need is there,” says Kim Baker, Executive Director of Manna. “For Randy Flinn, president of KorthaseFlinn, the answer was easy: ‘Let’s keep it going!’”

On Tuesday, May 19, Lite 96.3, 106 KHQ, and their sister stations held an on-air “Feeding Northern Michigan” campaign. A portion of the funds raised by the radiothon, along with more support from KorthaseFlinn, will help subsidize the mobile’s additional days of operation.

“Despite the chaos of the past few months, things have come together and needs are being met. Our caring community makes it all happen,” Baker says.

Manna Food Project, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, helps feed the hungry in Antrim, Charlevoix, and Emmet Counties.

Manna is a partner organization of the national Feeding America Food Bank Network and operates a food bank and distribution center, a food rescue program, a food pantry, and the “Food 4 Kids” backpack program.

For more information, call (231) 347-8852 or visit

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