Local charities provide free groceries to 200 low-income families in St. Joseph County

Posted at 8:51 PM, Jul 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-13 20:51:08-04

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Mich. — Life’s been hard for Georgina Boyse lately, she said. Due to a few health concerns, she hasn’t been working. So with no income, money has been tight for her and her grandchildren, who were recently placed in her care due to an emergency situation. However Friday she was able to go grocery shopping and she was thrilled.

“This is helping me out in a great time of need,” Boyse said during an interview while shopping. “This is awesome for everybody around here that doesn’t have any money.”

Boyse was among the few hundred people who attended the Fresh Food Initiative in Centerville. The United Way teamed up with the Food Bank of South Central Michigan to provide groceries to over 200 low-income families and residents.

“All this food is just incredible,” said the United Way's executive director Kelly Hostetler, looking at the food. “They’re able to get a 10-pound bag of potatoes and a gallon of milk.”

Along with radishes, tomatoes, baked goods and other produce, which were placed on display tables. Volunteers and organizers transformed the United Way’s parking lot on Main Street into a makeshift grocery store. Within an hour, 100 people were already served.

“We usually see lots of families with children but today we’re seeing more senior citizens, which is really kind of unique for this,” Hostetler said. “I'm so thankful that the seniors in our community feel comfortable to come out and get this food and take advantage of this service.”

Hostetler said the initiative will be happening throughout the summer in other locations. Three are already planned for Three Rivers in the coming weeks. And their message is clear: if you need food, come and get it.

“You got people hungry all across the world,” Boyse said. “It’s great to have somebody that can help, help you.”