Area food pantries look to stock up for holidays

Some local food pantries are getting low on items, and their operators are hoping Copper Country residents will come through with donations before the start of the holiday season.

Cathy Aten, Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly volunteer coordinator, said their food pantry – which has been in use for about 20 years – is in serious need of restocking.

“Ours is quite bare,” she said.

Aten said currently, LBFE is providing bags of nonperishable food for 88 elderly friends. Over the past four months, the number of people getting food has fluctuated from 87 to 90.

“It’s been growing every year,” she said. “We tend to see the numbers go up for the winter.”

Last year was an anomaly, however, Aten said, when fewer than 80 people received food pantry items.

Saturday, LBFE will conduct a bag food drive with the Lambda Chi Epsilon fraternity at Michigan Technological University, which Aten said will be very helpful.

“The food drive is coming at a perfect time,” she said.

The food drive is the main source of items for the LBFE food pantry.

Aten said the items used most in the LBFE food pantry are crackers, canned meats and fruits, soups, peanut butter and oatmeal.

“We are low on all those things,” she said.

Carla Johnson, manager of the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Hancock, said although their food pantry has been low, a recent monetary donation allowed them to stock up again.

“It’s perking up again,” she said. “It was empty about a month ago.”

The St. Vincent de Paul pantry also receives items from the WLUC television Canathon during the holiday season, Johnson said, and that stocks it for much of the upcoming year.

Johnson said the pantry will take monetary and nonperishable food items at the store at 204 Quincy St.

Many people have been asking for food from St. Vincent de Paul, Johnson said.

“Need has been up this year,” she said. “We try to supply folks with the staples they would make a meal with.”

Terry Bazin, co-manger of the New Beginnings Angel Mission in Calumet, said their food pantry is “not even close” to being well stocked.

The Angel Mission does take food donations at 119 Fifth St. in Calumet, Bazin said.

“That’s what’s been so slow coming in,” she said.

Hancock and Houghton public schools are having a competition to collect food for the Angel Mission food pantry, Bazin said, and she would like local businesses to do the same to collect food for all local food pantries.

“We need an angel in our pocket,” she said.

For more information about donating money or food to the New Beginnings Angel Mission, call Bazin at 370-9240 or co-manager Lynn Lanyon at 934-3602.

Maj. Mark Brown of the Salvation Army Hancock office, said their food pantry is adequate now.

“We’re not stuffed but we’re holding our own,” he said.

Brown said he’s confident the SA food pantry will be sufficiently stocked for the holidays.

“This community has a history of supporting us,” he said.