Local food pantry helping out families, individuals in need

Local food pantry helping out families, individuals in need

Clarkston News Editor

In times of need, communities like Clarkston seem to always step up to help their neighbors.
This has never been more evident than with the free food pantry roadside at 7058 Ridgewood Road, just north of Big Lake Road off of Clark Road, and south of I-75.
The pantry was started by the Miner family last summer and since then, the pantry’s Facebook group has grown to more than 1,000 members to give it solid, positive exposure.
“I joke the pantry started with a seed – a tomato seed,” said Deena Miner, who maintains the pantry with her husband Jonathan and children Kayla and Henry. “I planted one package of Roma tomato seeds and got 152 plants. I had seedlings when people weren’t allowed to buy seeds, so I shared. From there, when we had extra fruits or vegetables to share, we put them by the road on a table and a ‘free’ sign. One day early summer, I came home to a ‘pantry’ that my husband built out of scraps we had.

Henry Miner helps maintain the Ridgewood Food Pantry on his family’s property in Clarkston. The pantry is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assist anyone in need or for anyone to drop off food. Photo provided

“I wasn’t aware of a need until food didn’t stay in the pantry for long. It would go from full to empty in just a few hours.”
Two weeks ago, a small refrigerator was donated, and shelves were expanded to allow for more goods to be placed in the pantry.
“As long as the pantry needs to be here, it is OK with us,” Miner said. “It has been so well received by so many that taking it away could result in hungry bellies. That breaks my heart.”
Miner said that challenges have been few and far between, with simple tasks like removing expired food and keeping boxed items towards the back so the weather doesn’t affect them the most common hurdles.
“Nothing major,” she said.
Items currently accepted include food items in date, including spices, and personal care items, such as soap, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes, and deodorant.
No clothing is accepted, but Miner said a few ladies have made winter hats to hang in the pantry, and it is certainly acceptable for Michigan’s frigid winter months..
“Currently the pantry is 24/7,” said Miner. “It is utilized a lot after dark, and it is well lit so visiting any time is a good time.
“All feedback thus far has been positive. We have a suggestion/comments box in the pantry, and we have received ‘thank you’ notes and notes saying that ‘without this my family would be hungry.’ It’s both a blessing and very humbling.”
For more information on the pantry or to get involved, visit the Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/774899976710565/?ref=share.

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