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Michiana woman refurbishes old newspaper racks into emergency food pantries

NOW: Michiana woman refurbishes old newspaper racks into emergency food pantries

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PLYMOUTH, Ind. – A Michiana woman is on a mission to help families in her Marshall County community.

Rebecca Palmer, who lives in Plymouth, is repurposing old newspaper racks into emergency food pantries.

The mother of five calls them “Caring Cupboards.”

The cupboards can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by anyone in need. They will be stocked with nonperishable items like canned meats and fruits, cleaning supplies, and pet items.

“From being a divorced mom, I’ve experienced what it feels like when suddenly in the evening, you’re like, ‘What do I feed my children? I was at work all day, I couldn’t make the food pantries, the paycheck is a few days away, and the child support is nowhere in sight,’” said Palmer. “It’s all about helping the community. It’s not about us. It’s filling a need.”

Palmer began working on this idea last year when she realized the area lacked a 24/7 food pantry.

“When I moved back here last summer, I noticed Plymouth needed something like this,” said Palmer.

On a mission to fill the need, Palmer asked a local newspaper, the South Bend Tribune, to donate old newspaper racks that she could repurpose into caring cupboards.

Palmer is refurbishing the pantries. She hopes to install two cupboards by August 12. One will be located at the Plymouth Police Department. The other will be placed at the Plymouth Fire Department.


“Anybody is welcome to use it, but I’m targeting the working poor,” said Palmer. “They’re the ones that can’t make it to the food pantry, or maybe they’re embarrassed. Maybe they only need something to get through until tomorrow’s payday… They might have those food stamps, but they don’t have the money for the diapers, for the pet food, for the cleaning products and those are still necessities.”

Palmer is asking people to donate items so she can fill the cupboard’s shelves. She asks people donate non-perishable food items, especially canned meats, tuna pouches, canned fruits, instant potatoes, ready-to-eat soups, baby wipes, diapers, cleaning wipes, and pet food.

A complete list of needed items can be found here.

Supplies can be dropped off at Max 98.3 Studios, WTCA Studios, P&N Pawn Shop, Marshall County Historical Society, the Plymouth Pilot, or email Palmer. She says people can also add to the cupboards if they notice its low.

“I think it’s a pay it forward in real life where people are like, ‘Oh wow,’’ said Palmer. “I’ve already seen that on Facebook. I’ve had people say, ‘How can I get involved?’ So, it’s just like pay it forward. People are like, ‘Oh, you know, I want to do this to help other people,’ kind of get out of their own comfort zone and be grateful for what they have.”

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