GRAYLING – The sign out front simply says Food Pantry, but the Crawford County Community Christian Help Center/Food Pantry (CCCCHC) is far more than that to those in need of help. It is a clearinghouse for assistance to anyone who needs it.

Established in the early 1990s by a group of people from various area churches, CCCCHC provides immediate food to those who need it and resources for other needs, including heat, power, clothing, etc., through partnering agencies in Grayling and other nearby communities. The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity and St. Francis Thrift Shop are among its long list of partners.

“This community is so giving,” says Director Cindy Hummel. Those who help keep the food pantry supplied include many area churches and businesses such as Save-A-Lot and Family Fare.

“This community is so giving,” says Director Cindy Hummel. Those who help keep the food pantry supplied include many area churches and businesses such as Save-A-Lot and Family Fare. Family Fare supplies fresh baked good and sweets daily and turkeys during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Area Save-A-Lots hold a contest among their stores at Christmas time to get customers to buy a bag of supplies for Christmas dinners for a needy family for just $4.99. The bags are then taken to the local food pantry and given out free. The challenge is to see which store sells the most Christmas dinner bags. That is just one way the store helps the food pantry.

“We have vouchers for St. Francis Thrift Shop, River House, Goodwill, and other place for clients to get help,” says Cindy.

“We’re heading into right now, a tough spot for some of our residents in that their electric bill, their propane bill are very high. We go through the Salvation Army. The clients would fill out an application and I would forward that down to the Salvation Army in Flint.

“If their electricity is being threatened to be shut off, then the Salvation Army can go in prevent that from happening. They can tell the utility company, ‘Don’t shut them off. Payment is coming.’”

This year, the food Pantry is also the official distributor of Toys of Tots in Crawford County. Crawford County parents needing Christmas gifts for their children are welcome to stop in.

The CCCCHC Food Pantry is located at 300 Huron St. in Grayling, between the Eagles Hall and Walgreen’s pharmacy along M-72 East.

For more information, call (989) 348-6046.

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Kurt J. Kolka grew up in the small community of Grayling, Mich., near the forested AuSable River. After majoring in English at college, he began a career in writing and newspapers spanning more than two decades. In his spare time he creates a Christian comic strip, The Cardinal, which has a 28-year history of publication. He has also authored a book, “Bullying is No Laughing Matter” (Front Edge Publications, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2014) and is working on his first novel. Kurt and his wife Diane have been married for more than 25 years and have one daughter, Rebekah, and an overprotective dog, Alli. Of life, Kurt says, “Life is never dull with God at the steering wheel, but, man, does He have a lead foot!” More about Kurt and his musings may be found at www.betweenthepines.org.

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