NORTON SHORES, Mich. — A West Michigan organization is stepping up to help a local priest raise money for a nearby baby pantry after the coronavirus forced him to cancel his annual fundraiser.
Each St. Patrick’s Day Father Matt Barnum, with St. Mary’s Catholic Church, bar-tends at a local bar and raises money to help keep the Muskegon Baby Pantry stocked.
However, COVID-19 forced organizers to cancel the celebration this year, so, the Muskegon Knights of Columbus offered to donate $1 from each meal it sold at its Friday Fish Fry and all donations from its customers to Father Barnum’s effort.
“We kind of feel like we’re a community establishment here and we want to give back to our community that is in need right now so it’s kind of why we focused on that,” said Matt Carlton, grand knight.
Since the effort started two weeks ago, Carlton says they’ve nearly doubled their averge number of customers to about 1,000.
Friday, the organization helped Barnum meet his $25,000 goal.
“They know it’s through the collective efforts of everybody here and Father Matt that you’re going to give $25,000 to [the] struggling baby food pantry,” said Carlton. “I think the cash, and them having that resource, will be a huge impact for them.”
Carlton adds even though they met their goal, the organization will keep donating becuase it provides mothers with the necessities they need and shows the community they can come together during the pandemic.
“I think it’s good to see, in a community, during these times that there are good things going on and people are continuing to do them during these hard times,” said Carlton.
The Muskegon Knights of Columbus say the fish fries will continue for the forseeable future. Those interested can pick up a contact free dinner from 4-8 p.m. at 2915 Fairfield St. Norton Shores, MI 49441.