Food pantries will be established at elementary school and middle school
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The Frederic Food Bank, which operated in what is now the Frederic Township Community Center for a dozen years, has ceased operations.
The food pantry provided meals to needy students and their families in the building which was formerly the Frederic Elementary School.
The school was shut down several years ago, but the Crawford AuSable School District’s adult education program still operated in the building.
The adult education classes were moved to the Grayling High School when the building was sold to Frederic Township.
The building now provides space for township offices, a library, and classrooms for the Headstart program.
The Frederic Food Bank operated under a 501 (c)(3) non-profit status.
Clyde Holzbauer, the director for the Frederic Food Bank, said food, which was available to any resident in Crawford County, was purchased from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. For every $1 donated, the food bank was able to obtain $6 worth of food to put on the tables of area residents.
Besides Headstart, no other education entities operate in the township community center. Holzbauer tried, but was unsuccessful, in getting another organization with a non-profit status to take over the food bank operations. He said the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan would no longer service the food pantry since no other educational entity or non-profit organization would assume operations.
“They said you’re out of sync with our regulations,” Holzbauer said.
Now, food banks will be established at the Grayling Elementary School and Grayling Middle School, an offshoot of the student-led Viking Pantry operated at the Grayling High School. The pantry at the high school has provided food, cleaning supplies, and hygiene products to students and their families over the last year.
Donations to support the Frederic Food Bank comes from school district employees as well as businesses and individuals in the community.
Holzbauer said it is essential to keep up the financial support for the food pantries which will be at the middle school and elementary school.
“The people who contributed to the food bank, that is so important to continue to keep this effort going,” he said.
Funds saved by the food bank will be distributed to assist all three food pantries at the schools.
Holzbauer said fundraising will need to continue to keep the food pantries going.
“They’re going to have to raise $3,000 to $4,000 every six months, so they don’t have to spend the seed money that I’ve given them,” Holzbauer said.
Over the last 12 years, Holzbauer said 81 tons of food were distributed by the Frederic Food Bank to help those in need.
A retired Grayling Elementary School social worker, Holzbauer said parents, student leaders and school staff will need to formalize operations to run the pantries. That is already in place at the elementary school.
“They’ve got a space for it, they’ve got a committee for it, and they’re committed to it, and they’re going to continue on strong,” he said.