Fill the Bus food drive slow but FISH volunteers grateful for community support



FISH volunteers Lydia Baker and Joann Lepri sort donations during the Fill the Bus food drive Saturday at Grand Blanc High School. Photo by Lania Rocha

FISH volunteers Lydia Baker and Joann Lepri sort donations during the Fill the Bus food drive Saturday at Grand Blanc High School. Photo by Lania Rocha

GRAND BLANC — Dozens of volunteers braved the cold and rain to collect needed provisions and help fill a school bus for Grand Blanc area residents Saturday, Nov. 20.

“It was a little slower than anticipated,” said Barb Smith, chairperson of FISH of Grand Blanc, the organization that coordinated the food drive at Grand Blanc High School. “But we’re more than grateful for everything we’ve been given.”

FISH has served struggling families in the Grand Blanc Community Schools district since 1974. These days, they provide food for more than 300 people every week and the number continues to grow.

“We just signed up 10 new families last week,” Smith said.

In addition to furnishing nutritious meals, FISH also provides winter coats to children. The organization gave out about 200 coats just last month, in fact. They maintain a clothes closet, and provide backpacks for students returning to the classroom in the fall.

The fully-volunteer, 501c3 organization assists senior citizens and veterans, delivering weekly meals to about 100 people who have no means of transportation or are unable to drive.

“For some of those people, we are their sole source of food,” Smith said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Smith attributed the slow food drive to shortages of products on store shelves, and the financial crunch that many families may be feeling due to the higher cost of goods.

But she’s confident the community will come through, as it always has, to make sure area families have enough food on the table during the holiday season.

“Grand Blanc has always been a strong supporter of what we do,” Smith said. “We firmly believe the community will continue to support us.”

The food drive took place in partnership with Sam’s Club, the Grand Blanc Community Schools, and the City of Grand Blanc and Grand Blanc Township police and fire departments.

In addition, the volunteers received a surprise delivery from Jimmy Johns, after one of their employees happened to see the food drive while making deliveries, and returned with 30 lunch packs.

For information on receiving assistance or to volunteer with FISH, email fishofgrandblancmi@gmail.com or call 810-293-4828.