From left, Liz McLachlan and Michele Robinson of Lighthouse, Clarkston Rotary President Mary Sloan; Susan Huttenlocher Ebeling of Lighthouse; and Rotarian Jeff Lichty are working to replace the food pantry’s worn out van. Photo by Phil Custodio
BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
Clarkston Rotarians and Bowman Chevrolet are keeping Lighthouse on the road, helping the local charity serve those most in need.
“After hearing Michelle Robinson and Susan Ebeling of Clarkston Lighthouse speak to our club, I decided to try to help them get a new van as their’s is really in bad shape,” said Rotary President Mary Sloan.
Sloan commited her $5,000 Presidential Project to Lighthouse of Oakland County, which serves Oakland County residents with emergency food, housing programs, and other services.
She then applied to the Rotary District Foundation committee for a $2,500 grant to add to the donation, which was granted, raising it to a total of $7,500.
“Jeff (Lichty, her husband) talked with Bowman Chevrolet to see if they would like to be involved as they are known to help with community projects,” Sloan said.
Katie Bowman Coleman responded generously, working with them to provide two used vans to replace Lighthouse’s worn-out vehicles.
“This is very exciting. It’s a wonderful project,” said Susan Huttenlocher Ebeling of Lighthouse. “Thanks to you and the Clarkston Rotary Club, two well-worn and rusty vans will be off the road, and replaced by vehicles which will more safely serve the needs of our Lighthouse clients.”
Rotary’s theme this year is to “be the inspiration,” and this is one way to do that, Sloan said.
“My goal is more involvement in the community, partnering with other community groups,” she said.
The old van, which is used by staff and volunteers daily to pick up food donations from Costco, Sam’s Club, Meijer, and other businesses around the area, is 20 years old with almost 200,000 miles on it.
Bowman, Rotary, and the commumity are looking to replace it, as well as a passenger van for the food pantry’s office in Pontiac.
Rotary’s $7,500 donation was also used to kickstart a fundraising appeal for the Clarkston van, and additional funds were allocated by the Lighthouse Board toward the purchase of the Pontiac vehicle.
“We are still receiving contributions from the very generous Clarkston community,” Ebeling said. “It’s a big project and they have responded. I’m a Huttenlocher from Clarkston – we understand the value of what Lighthouse does.”
Lighthouse Clarkston is helping more people compared to last year at its new office, 5850 Dixie Hightway, serving 35 more households, 19 of which are new, including 41 children under the age of 18, 45 adults, and 14 seniors.
Last fiscal year, Lighthouse provided 52,164 meals to the Clarkston community. Over 60 percent of those served were children. The Clarkston location has been serving northern Oakland County since 1990.
Overall, Lighthouse provided 256,932 meals to people in need last year.
Upcoming holiday programs include Adopt-A-Family, where donations can help a family of your choosing. Volunteers are also needed.
For more information, call 248-972-1497.