Holly – Holly’s police department pantry needs help.
âWe all had a time when we just needed a little help,â said Heather Melton, Holly High School graduate who posted on Facebook in late October that the pantry is nearly empty. They accept food and personal care items.
âWe help a lot of the elderly. We help the homeless. There are homeless people in Holly and Fenton, âMelton said. Its goal is to eliminate food insecurity in the Holly area.
The pantry started on April 21.
âCOVID has decimated everything – the economy, people’s lives,â said Holly Police Chief Jerry Narsh. âI had several agents who knew people in the community who really needed help. They also knew people who were embarrassed.
They had a surplus of food from Forgotten Harvest which helped, but there wasn’t enough to meet demand. Officers made regular food deliveries. Narsh said there were still people falling through the cracks. Holly police officer Bob Goedertier suggested creating the pantry. Officers and other police department personnel were helping people as they entered, but they had logistical issues that were removed from their jobs.
Then Melton stepped in.
âHeather really is the angel of the pantry,â Narsh said.
When she heard about the HPD pantry, she immediately got involved and offered to run it. âIt was a partnership made in heaven. The pantry at Holly is very unique. It has dry goods, personal hygiene products and a fridge and freezer open 24/7 for anyone who needs help, âshe said. There is no connection and no questions are asked.
Most pantries are closed at certain times, but anyone can come to Holly’s pantry at any time. Melton organizes everything, accepts donations and purchases certain items. She made sure to add personal hygiene and cleaning supplies as well.
âIf someone can’t afford to eat, they can’t afford toothpaste,â Narsh said, praising Melton for including personal hygiene and cleaning supplies as well. âThese are real needs, and they are very expensive. “
Regular or intermittent users are welcome. Melton said it was fine if people only needed the pantry once or every week.
âSome people hate asking for help or are too proud, and it’s like, take it. Please. It will be filled. I have a ton of angels helping me, âMelton said. âThe community has been great. “
Cash donations can be dropped off at the station. You don’t have to live in Holly to use the pantry.
âYou can do without a lot, but food isn’t one of them. When you protect and serve a community, just by allowing our already open lobby to become a means of enabling people in need of food to have food, it protects and serves our community, âNarsh said.
The location of a police station adds a sense of security. Narsh said they saw items come and go at a proportionate pace and had security cameras, but they didn’t check who was taking the food.
âIn a way, it’s probably the safest grocery store in town,â Narsh said. Another Michigan police department set up a pantry after seeing Holly’s.
Despite the account that the police should do less, Narsh said they would not turn down the opportunity to provide the service. âOf course, if someone had to commit a crime to obtain these items, we would prefer that they come and collect them for free. You could say that by providing that we are removing the possibility of committing a crime, âhe said.
The holiday season can be more difficult for families in difficult financial situations.
âThere are a lot of families who have to choose between paying their bills or buying Christmas presents. We have our Shop With a Hero program, âNarsh said.
For the refrigerator, they need milk, butter, cheese, breakfast meat, eggs, hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and other foods normally kept in the refrigerator. They hope to receive more donations of meat to keep in the freezer. They also stock frozen yogurt, frozen eggs, frozen salmon, and a few pounds of ground beef, but there’s room for more.
For the pantry, Melton said they need taco kits, meat soup, stew, canned melody, spaghetti sauce and other canned items. Leave unopened foods in their original packaging. They do not accept expired food or leftovers from restaurants. People can give formula, diapers and a few people own chickens and regularly give eggs.
Personal care items accepted include toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, household items, toilet paper, wipes and disinfectants. They do not accept durable goods, such as pots, pans and small appliances.
Melton is asking people to donate smaller sizes of shampoo, conditioner, and soap as they can easily fit in backpacks. People often give away boxes of macaroni and cheese or taco mixes, and Melton suggests picking up other ingredients needed to make these things, like milk and ground beef.
She hopes to get donors to set up a steady stream of monthly donations. She can be contacted through Facebook, where she often posts updates.