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Local food pantry receives needed financial donation

NOW: Local food pantry receives needed financial donation

MISHAWAKA, Ind. — $5000 can go a long way for any person or organization.

During a pandemic though, that has already changed everything you normally do, this money means one local group does not have to let crummy circumstances win, or their community loose.

“It is our pleasure on behalf of the DeAmici’s club to donate another $5,000 to your behalf for the needs of this community,” said DeAmici’s Italian Club member, Randy Squadroni.

“Thank you and the DeAmici’s club for these funds. It’s certainly going to help feed a lot of people,” said the Director of the Mishawaka Food Pantry, Mike Hayes.

Feeding on average 120 people everyday, with even more coming in for showers and clothes, giving this kind of money now just made sense to the local club.

“We know the need is very high right now and this is one of the reasons that we wanted to do this at this time because we know the funds can be well used,” said Squadroni.

DeAmici’s is a 103-year-old Italian Club who has been continually raising and givings donations to the food pantry since 2009.

“Oh my they have done a lot of different things, they have always been involved and helped out financially as well as well as physical help,” said Hayes.

Whether it is through years of donations, hosting fund raisers, or working at various pantry events one thing is certain.

“We love giving back to the community,” said Squadroni.

A community Director Hayes grew up in.

His father and family going through Mishawaka schools and Hayes himself formerly serving as a fire fighter in the local department.

Now, Hayes has dedicated his work life to leading the pantry for the past 12 years.

“It’s harder on them than on any of us,” said Hayes. “They’re people, where do they turn for help you know. We’ve been that place and we want to remain that place.”

The non-profit already postponing their July fund raising event indefinitely because of the virus making moments like this one truly special.

Hayes amazed by the true generosity of the community he calls home.

“The willingness to help other people” said Hayes. “If somebody’s down on their luck somebodies there to pick them up.”

The community is always there to help and has stuck by the pantry’s side through all the unknowns.

With safety as a number one priority the pantry is doing everything they can to keep people safe.

“And you have to think about who are volunteering here as well as the employees to be able to protect them and keep the people outside protected so now we’re not having anyone come into the building,” said Hayes.

Physical distancing is just one of the many changes being implemented to keep the staff, volunteers, and community safe.

Extra cleaning measures, gloves, masks have been added in as well as new ways of distributing hot meals and groceries.

“Out one door we do the food that they need to take home and the groceries. And we just have to pre bag it for them instead of them coming in and picking it off the shelves we pre bag it and hand it to them. Well we put it in a grocery cart and push it out the door and they can get their groceries out side of the cart,” said Hayes. “On the dining side we do that out a different door out the front where we hand them a to-go container.”

If you are needing food assistance the pantry is still giving out hot meals, groceries, and as of Friday—the pantry will be opening their doors to guests in need of clothing.

Plans are in place to allow up to four guests at a time inside the building to pick out the clothes they need in 20-30 minute increments.

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