Food Pantry and Food Programs

Food Pantry History

The Love INC Community Food Pantry was born out of a collaborative partnership between the Newaygo Food Pantry and Love INC of Newaygo County. Both ministries desired to:

  • Expand food pantry services beyond Grant and Newaygo to all qualified Newaygo County residents.
  • Provide a “self-select” pantry, allowing shoppers to pick out the items their families can use.
  • House the pantry in a barrier free facility that would work well for volunteers and shoppers alike.
  • Recruit and encourage volunteers from many partner churches to serve in the food pantry.

In September 2006 the pantry was moved from its previous location in the basement of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church to the Love INC Campus. Since the move, the number of individuals and families served each month has steadily risen. Today, the pantry serves 800 – 1,000 families each month.

Who can “shop” in the pantry?

There are two programs that allow qualified families to shop in the Love INC Community Food Pantry.

  • Income based shopping: Each year Love INC establishes income guidelines for families requesting the ability to shop in the pantry on a monthly basis.
  • Earned pantry vouchers through the Growing Hope Program: For individuals attending the Love INC Growing Hope Program (a relational ministry centered around financial management and personal growth classes), vouchers can be earned to shop in the pantry. Money saved by using vouchers for pantry shopping allows families in the program to direct finances toward other budget items while working to establish financial stability.

For more information regarding income based shopping or becoming part of the Growing Hope Program, please contact our office at 231.652.4099.

Love INC Food Pantry Hours

Monday through Friday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday Evenings: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Where do items given away in the pantry come from and how can I give?

Food and personal items used to stock the Love INC Community Food Pantry come from the following sources:

  • Church and Organization food drives (please contact Love INC for a list of food drive ideas)
  • Local Fundraisers (Harvest for Hunger, ExtravaCANza, etc.)
  • School Sponsored Events
  • Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank (formerly Second Harvest Gleaners Food Bank)
  • CROP Hunger Walk
  • Monetary Gifts from churches, organizations and individuals
  • Foundation and Corporation Grants

For more information on ways you or your church can donate, please visit our Donations and Contributions page.

What types of food donations are needed most?

Though we try to purchase most of our pantry stock from Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank (formerly Second Harvest Gleaners Food Bank) for 16¢ per pound or less, it is not always possible to get all needed items. The following is a list of items our pantry can always use:

  • Laundry Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Cereal
  • Hamburger Helper type meals
  • Canned Fruit
  • Tuna/Canned Meats
  • Venison/Meats processed by a licensed processor. Note: we do have access to a licensed processor willing to process venison free of charge for food pantry use.
  • Pasta
  • Sugar
  • Flour
  • Pancake/Biscuit Mix
  • Syrup
  • Fresh garden produce in season!

Please consider holding a food drive in your church, business or school… together we can eliminate hunger in Newaygo County!

Items we cannot use in the pantry

Though we appreciate the receipt of all donated items, there are certain items we cannot use due to regulations, policy, or for sanitary reasons. The following items cannot be accepted/used by our pantry:

  • Food items in glass jars
  • Canned items that are bulging/badly dented
  • Product that is out of date
  • Home canned/home processed items including fruits, vegetables, and meats
  • Partially used/opened items
  • Medicines

Are there volunteer opportunities in the Love INC Community Food Pantry?

It takes several volunteers to keep the Love INC Community Food Pantry operating five days each week. Some of the volunteer opportunities offered through the pantry include:

  • Pantry Shopper Assistants
  • Pantry Stockers
  • Bulk Item Repack Volunteers
  • Food Bank Shoppers
  • Drivers to pick up breads, meats and items from local stores

For more information regarding volunteer opportunities and requirements for volunteering in the food pantry, please contact the Love INC Food Pantry Coordinator at 231.652.4099 ext 18.

Mobile Food Pantry

Love INC, area churches and local organizations, partnering with Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank (formerly Second Harvest Gleaners Food Bank), have helped to facilitate the presence of mobile pantry food trucks in Newaygo County since 2006.

Mobile pantry operations are very simple: Any church or other 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that would like to distribute food to families in need can sign up to use the food bank. They don’t have to own a building or have a “normal” food pantry. Many of the mobile pantry hosts just borrow a parking lot for a few hours (school parking lots after school lets out work very well!). Confirmations for available mobile pantry dates/times are made through Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank. Mobile pantry hosts then recruit about a dozen volunteers to staff the event.

On the day of the distribution the truck is loaded with whatever quantity of food the host agency has indicated they think they will need (5,000 lbs., 7,500 lbs., or 10,000 lbs.). The food bank strives to assemble the nicest collection of goods from whatever array of perishable (and sometimes non-perishable) products happen to be on hand at the moment. A mobile pantry’s load will typically include fruit, vegetables, dairy products, baked goods, and ?? – every truck is an adventure! The goal is that every household served will walk away with about 50 lbs. of goods they can and will use.

Mobile pantries are quick, easy, inexpensive ways to help hundreds of people with food that otherwise might well have gone to waste.

Funding for the trucks comes from churches, organizations, individuals, Love INC, The Gerber Foundation, and The Fremont Area Community Foundation (FACF). In 2009, The Fremont Area Community Foundation committed to providing 3 to 1 matching funds toward any mobile truck sponsored by a church or organization in our county. Such a gift allows Love INC, our partner churches and community organizations to provide a generous amount of food to families for a very low cost. 2009 rates to sponsor a mobile truck in Newaygo County are:

10,000 lb truck ($825): $206.25 paid by host, $618.75 by FACF
7,500 lb truck ($675): $168.75 paid by host, $506.25 by FACF
5,000 lb truck ($545): $136.25 paid by host, $408.75 by FACF

All residents in need of food in the Greater Newaygo County area may attend the mobile pantries. There is no specific income requirement; it is a self-declared need for food. Pre-registration to attend a mobile pantry may be required at some locations, please check the Hi-Lites Paper or pick up the latest mobile pantry schedule at Love INC for details. Pre-registration is done so mobile pantry hosts know what size truck to order.

For more information on becoming a mobile pantry host or to attend a mobile pantry distribution, please contact the Love INC office at 231.652.4099.