Mishawaka, IN (WNDU) – After shutting down operations indefinitely, Mishawaka Food Pantry told 16 News that it has undergone a management change.
That was after the former director-general was arrested last October for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.
Officials at Mishawaka Food Pantry say they are nearing closure, but they hope to continue serving their community by making some changes to their program.
Mishawaka Food Pantry Interim Executive Director Joe Graville said, “We were on the verge of a complete shutdown. This is a terrible waste to the community.” Thank you, GoFundMe fundraiser is now available and I think we’ve raised about $4,500 of our $9,000 goal.”
Gravil volunteered to save the nonprofit at the risk of indefinite closure.
“We typically have 15 to 30 households per day, serving a very important segment of the community,” said Grabill.
He says the community support behind Food Pantry has been incredible.
“Every time someone comes by, whether it’s buying groceries, getting a hot cup of coffee, or taking a shower, they’re always very, very grateful. Mishawaka. It’s the support that the community provides.”
In early December, the Mishawaka Food Pantry posted a sign on its door saying, “Due to staff illness and shortages, we will be closed until further notice.”
“We had issues with some of the donated clothing. Unfortunately, we had to dispose of many of them and bring in exterminators. It’s the best food pantry you can have.”
Following a bed bug epidemic and a breakup with a former director, Mishawaka Food Pantry says it is committed to serving its community.
“Unfortunately, we had to discontinue our very popular hot meal program, but it had to be more targeted. We have been able to keep staff down.”
Under the new program, fewer volunteers are needed to help more people.
“Because we’re more targeted, we need fewer people each day. Along with some online tools, we will be able to schedule people to volunteer on the terms that suit them.”
They plan to revamp their hot meal program in the near future, but for the time being they are providing hot soups and beverages to those in need.
“As a next step, we want to do something better with hot meals. We are open to the public so people can come in. It was provided so people who weren’t home could come in and warm up and get some nutrition.
They now offer personal hygiene products such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, razors, and feminine care products, as well as much-needed baby formula.
“For those receiving SNAP food aid, this is a real boon for people because they are not eligible for that dollar.”
They also provide warming stations and hot showers for the homeless in Mishawaka and Osceola.
“There are no homeless shelters in Mishawaka. I have not heard of one being built any time soon, but it is very important to provide the homeless with dignity and the opportunity for personal hygiene.”
Since closing the Food Pantry’s clothing division, they’ve been referring people who want to donate to Goodwill Industries in Michiana.
“Companies like ABI Attachments delivered a lot of food, like turkey and ham, that weren’t distributed.”
Other nonprofits, like the Northern Indiana Food Bank, stepped up during the brief closure of their food pantries.
“We are very grateful for the leadership of Mike Hayes, who initially helped found it along with former Mishawaka Mayor Bob Beater.”
Gravil said he would lead the food pantry in the short to medium term, but said he would seek a permanent director and volunteer coordinator once the balance was struck.
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