By Ray Balogh
MILFORD — The newly dubbed Van Buren Township Food Pantry, housed in Milford First Brethren Church at 110 W. Catherine St., is now open from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Friday until further notice.
The former Milford Food Pantry, whose name was changed to avoid confusion with Milford Food Bank, was previously open 1 to 3 p.m. those two weekdays. The expanded hours are intended “to accommodate those getting off work at 3 p.m. and not being able to get here with our former hours,” said operations manager Vickie Scarpellini.
Anyone who lives in the township can qualify to receive material assistance, which ranges from food staples and dry goods to hygiene products and certain items of clothing.
“It’s still going to be a community-run pantry and we look forward to continuing this ministry to the community,” said Lee Compson, pastor of Milford First Brethren and president of the new corporation’s board of directors.
“After the year we had in 2020, it’s clear there is a lot of need in our area, and I’m excited our local pantry can continue to operate and our church can host it in our facility.
“I am thankful for our volunteers who help run it and serve on the board.”
Compson suggested recipients bring proof of township residency, make sure there is room in their vehicle for a sizable box and “pull up to the south end of the church next to the community building parking lot.”
Pre-stocked boxes include two meats, cereal, canned goods and cleaning supplies. As they are available, food staples such as eggs, bread, milk and butter are included, as well as paper products while supplies last.
“It’s all here. We try to keep a good variety,” said Scarpellini.
The pantry subsists largely on donations of money and products.
“Many thanks for those who did food drives for us last year,” Scarpellini said, naming “Wawasee Key Club, Milford School, Chore Time, Milford Library and Knights of Columbus, who donated a lot of coats.”
Monetary donations may be mailed to P.O. Box 6, Milford, IN 46542 or dropped off at the church during pantry hours or by appointment
Van Buren Township Food Pantry Inc. will soon be filing for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, which, if granted, will be effective from the date of filing.
Donations of food, hygiene products, cleaning supplies and other approved items may be dropped off at the food pantry by arrangement.
The pantry is also looking for volunteers. “We are thinking about offering delivery to those who cannot come in, such as those at Leisure Living Senior Apartments and other home-bound people,” said Scarpellini.
For more information, call (574) 518-0529 or (574) 933-1104.