The Milford Food Bank will host a food giveaway from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, May 17, in the parking lot of the First Street Plant of The Papers.
The aim of this first-time event is to serve “the needy in the community and seniors,” said Bill Troup, who started the food bank 2½ years ago. “Those in government subsidized housing automatically are eligible.”
Troup recognizes that, human nature being what it is, some people who don’t really need the help will scoop up some of the offerings. But his commitment compels him to err on the side of caution. “I won’t be checking people’s incomes or information like that.”
Attendees should bring their own bags or boxes. “Each person will receive maybe 30 items,” said Troup. “There will be a selection. We’ll have four to five tables set up with food items and we’ll have a sign in to keep track.”
The giveaway is slated to last two hours, but “if 50 people are still in line at 10 o’clock, we will still serve them until the food runs out,” Troup said.
From its humble beginnings, the food bank has expanded to make a significant charitable dent in several area communities. “We went from five pantries and five kinds of food to supplying 55 pantries in eight counties with 55 kinds of food,” said Troup. “We are serving 2,500 people a month through those pantries.”
Operations are carried out by some 30 volunteers in the First Street Plant, the food bank’s “fourth or fifth location.”The inventory averages 40 to 50 tons of food.
Troup, always on the lookout for deals, trades and bargains, and never one to refuse donations, receives about half of the food bank’s product free and judiciously purchases the rest.
The food bank, which works through the Milford Apostolic Christian Church, supports itself by redeeming junk metal, scrap and aluminum cans. “People bring their household appliances such as freezers, refrigerators, fencing, steel posts and throw them into the hopper (located on the west side of the First Street Plant). Last year we raised $4,000 in eight months.”
The aluminum can drop is on southwest corner of Emeline Street and SR 15 in front of Harvest With a Heart food pantry.
Troup will notify the township trustees in New Paris, Syracuse, North Webster and Milford of the giveaway, which he hopes to make “an annual affair in the spring.”
The bank supplies pantries monthly with “things they can’t get elsewhere, such as vegetables, cereal, single serving items, laundry soap and hygiene products” and supplements those distributions “by buying bulk and selling some of it to them cheaply,” said Troup. “They do not have space for bulk storage.”
The food bank also doles out monthly supplies to backpack programs during the school year.
Troup has noticed a trend since he started the enterprise. “Pantries will go to the Northern Indiana Food Bank and Fort Wayne Food Bank but there’s no inventory there of what they need. Then when they do get something, there is such demand that they cannot keep up.” The Milford Food Bank bridges those gaps.
The demand keeps him hopping. “My phone rings all the time. But we have never turned anybody down.” Troup can be reached at 574-518-1349.