Chesaning 11-year-old takes on feeding the hungry
CHESANING – One year ago, Big Rock Elementary School student Bryce Harris participated in the Food Pantry Distribution at Trinity United Methodist Church. Learning that by working with the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, the church can provide six meals for every dollar donated to the church food pantry program, he decided to help feed a lot more people.
Over the past year, Harris has raised more than $1,900 for the food pantry at Trinity United Methodist. Harris explained that a large share of the money raised was from the sale of garden produce that was sold at his father’s store, Merchandise Galore in Owosso. Teachers at Big Rock Elementary School donated more than $260 to the food pantry, as a result of Harris’ enthusiasm for doing good. Next fall, Harris will be attending Chesaning Middle School.
According to Trinity’s Food Bank Coordinator Dave Sutton, the monthly food pantry program has been going on for two years and has grown substantially. During the past two winters, Chesaning Schools allowed the food program to use its bus garage one day a month as a place to bring the food for sorting and distribution. However, Sutton recognizes that the food program needs its own garage to store food; they want to build a pole barn for food storage.
Recently, the church submitted a request for the fees associated with building permits and special use permit to be waived by the village. However, since churches do not pay taxes, and the village would incur costs associated with providing the necessary building inspections, the request was denied. They did ask Village Administrator Lisa Hitchcock to verify as to whether the church would actually need a variance on the project though. If they don’t need the variance, that would be one less fee they would have to pay.
According to Sutton, the church has received a $45,000 grant from the Walmart corporation for the project. And last year, Walmart awarded the church $3,500 for food. He explained that Walmart’s mission is to fight hunger, too.
“The building will cost us $88,000,” Sutton said. Initially, they had planned to build a 40 x 80’ building; but with the increased demand for food, he feels they really need it to be larger. They now plan to build a 100 x 40’ pole barn.
“We’re going to put up the shell our- selves,” he said, adding that they will eventually finish the interior.
“Funds are needed for the pole barn at this point,” Sutton said, adding, “This isn’t a Trinity [United Methodist Church] program. This is a community program.” He explained that other churches, and individuals have already contributed.
Anyone willing to donate to the pole barn project for the food pantry can direct their checks to: Pole Barn Fund, Trinity United Methodist Church, 1629 Brady Rd., Chesaning, MI 48616
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