The Rapidian

Surge in Visitors to Local Food Pantry

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

COVID-19 has strained resources at local non-profits, including Family Network of Wyoming. The organization typically serves just over 10,000 people a year but saw 2,700 people in April 2020 alone.
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Family Network is on a mission in the community. Can you help?

Family Network's mission is to provide dignity and love like Jesus, bringing people together to build stronger, healthier communities. The organizations strives to do this in a caring, kind, inclusice environment to ensure those they serve leave feeling dignified and respected.  They are always in need of additional support and volunteers.  You can get involved by visiting their website and selecting the "Volunteer" or "Donate" buttons at the top.  https://fntw.org/

Golf Outing Information

Golf Outing Information

People are hurting right now. The impacts of COVID-19 reach beyond health concerns. With record unemployment week after week in March, April, and May, neighbors who never thought they would need the assistance of a food pantry found themselves reaching out for help.  Family Network of Wyoming was there to answer the call.  The organization, located at 1029 44th St. SW in Wyoming, MI, was founded in 2004 to serve the community with a food pantry, access to a medical equipment lending closet, and more.  Even at the heights of the great recession, Family Network never saw need like was experienced by people out of work because of stay-at-home orders in the past three months.

In 2019, Family Network served just over 10,000 people through its food pantry. In April 2020 alone, over 2,700 people came for food. Each family received a grocery cart full of nutritous food. Fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, frozen meats, and shelf stable items like cereal, canned soups and sauces, pasta, and more are packed up for each family and taken out to the parking lot to their awaiting vehicles.  "We started out trying to limit the number of people in the building, but because we have a small volunteer team who are mostly elderly, we decided to make the tranisition to drive up pantry only," said Raycheen Sims, Executive Director of Operations at Family Network.  The lines of cars start forming before the pantry distribution begins, and people have been patient and grateful for the support they have received.

The surge of new people has strained the resources available at Family Network, just at a time when, because of the pandemic, the organization made the tough decision to cancel their spring gala. "That event is one of our primary fundraising activities for the year, and it brings in a lot of funds to keep food on the tables of community members. Cancelling was a big blow," said Karrie Brown, Executive Director of Development.  Churches, businesses, and individuals in the community have continued their support, which has helped weather the storm so far.

Another annual event, the Golf Classic, typically takes place in July.  "We were grateful to learn that golf courses could still host charity events," Karrie Brown shared.  "We had to push our 14th Annual Golf Classic out to August 28, but we're excited to be holding it at Kaufman Golf Course, right across the street from Family Network.  The funds we raise from corporate sponsorships and individual golfers will help us keep the freezers and refrigerators full and the shelves stocked. We do not turn anyone away who tells us they need help, and being able to hold this fundraiser means we will have resources to keep going as long as the community needs us."

Registration for the Golf Classic is now open at https://fntw.org/events/.  The cost is $90 per person, which includes 18 holes with a cart for 2, lunch, snacks and beverages on the course, and more.  It is for a great cause, and Family Network is hoping to see a big turn out this year to raise funds for the wonderful community they serve. "We couldn't do it without all of the people who step up and say they want to help.  We feel blessed to have so many people supporting their neighbors in these tough times. We'll get through this because West Michigan is a caring and loving place," Karrie Brown shared.

If you want to learn more about Family Network, visit their website at https://fntw.org.  

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