Lighthouse of Oakland County in need of supplies

Food pantry serves tens of thousands of people each year

By Koco McAboy - Reporter

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. - The Lighthouse of Oakland County is a food pantry that serves tens of thousands of people each year.

Soon, they'll be partnering with Gleaners to provide more produce to the community. But right now they're experiencing a large increase in demand for food, and they've run out of some essential items.

Lighthouse of Oakland County has been helping families for years, providing canned goods. Now they need help keeping food on the shelves for families.

"On a good day, these shelves are completely stocked up," pantry manager James McQueen said.

But McQueen said they've struggled to keep the shelves full the past couple of weeks.

"We have seen an increase in the clients and families that we see. We are out of all of our core items -- pastas, we're out of our pasta sauces, peanut butter, jelly, which is good for the kids," McQueen said. "We're experiencing drought right now, so we need as much help as possible."

More than 6,000 families depend on the pantry, including Belinda Grada's family of seven.

"This is the lifesaver. This is a lifesaver," Grada said.

Grada has three kids of her own and also helps care for her mother with Alzheimer's and her two young grandkids.

"If this was not here, it would be horrible, really bad for me," Grada said. "The worst thing that could happen to me is to have this close down."

Before Grada started coming to the pantry, she had to make some tough choices.

"I only have let's say $400. Out of that $400, I either need to buy wipes, diapers or pay the light and gas, and my grandbabies can't be in the cold, so it's real tough decision and having this open five days a week is the best thing ever," Grada said.

The Lighthouse of Oakland County is hoping for donations so they can continue to serve the community.

"If you have something extra to give, whether it be a canned good, whether it be $5, that really goes a long way," McQueen said.

It helps give working moms like Grada one less thing to worry about.

"If you guys don't donate, it's really hard for us," Grada said. "We can't pick up a diaper, we can't pick up the wipes and what am I going to do at home?"

The pantry is specifically looking for donations of peanut butter and jelly, tuna and soups.

To donate, head to their website here.

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