Micro Pantry @ Community
ZEELAND, Mich. (January 4, 2021) – Harvest Stand Ministries is now offering a new service to fight hunger in Zeeland: Micro-pantries.
Micro-pantries are small, outdoor structures (about the size of a refrigerator) that provide 24-hour access to food and necessities for families in need.
Three partner organizations are currently involved in this initiative: Community Reformed Church (10376 Felch St.), The Foundry Church (425 100th St.) and The Bridge Youth Center (210 E. Main Ave.).
As of Monday, Jan.11, a micro-pantry is open at each of those locations. The three micro-pantries are stocked with non-perishable foods such as canned goods, dry pasta, oatmeal and baby food as well as diapers, feminine hygiene products and common healthcare items.
“Those who are food insecure face many barriers to food access, including lack of time and transportation,” said Craig Schrotenboer, executive director of Harvest Stand Ministries. “Imagine your family being hungry and having to wait for a food truck to arrive or pantry to open. Local micro-pantries are easy to access and open 24/7, offering anonymous assistance whenever someone needs it.”
The micro-pantries will operate on a “take what you need, leave what you can” model. “We are excited to see how the micro-pantries bring the community together to help those in need,” said Schrotenboer. “They’re a simple way for neighbors to help neighbors.” Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 51 percent of households in Zeeland City were living at or below Ottawa County’s sustainable living wage, according to the 2019 Ottawa County ALICE Project Report.
“We have seen greatly increased demand for our services this year, and it’s only growing,” Schrotenboer said. “Micro-pantries will enable us to serve more people and—since they are contactless—more safely.” Schrotenboer hopes to expand the initiative to more locations in the future.