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Food pantries and emergency food assistance organizations receive $7,000

January 19, 2022 | By Michael H. Babcock

Prior to the holidays, Portage Health Foundation (PHF) released a Request for Proposals (RFP) focused on food pantries and emergency food assistance. The RFP ended up providing four organizations with a total of $7,000 in funding.

Skyscraper in Hancock MichiganThe RFP was released in recognition that many community pantries and emergency food assistance programs have been challenged by increased utilization since the pandemic began. The intention of these grants was to support the immediate funding needs of area food pantries or emergency food assistance programs that have seen an increased surge in demand for food and other resources during the coronavirus pandemic.

Below are the grants that were funded through this RFP.

Finlandia University’s Student Needs Pantry - $2,000

Finlandia University used their grant to fill their pantry for the remainder of 2021 and prepare for the start of the spring semester with full shelves. The FinnU Student Needs Pantry provides shelf-stable food, toiletries, and weekly fresh produce and dairy for students. Some of the food is donated, but much needs to be purchased by the university. This school year the pantry has also received a Synod Hunger Grant (ELCA), funding from the John Wesley James Foundation and direct donations. Over the last semester about 12 percent of full-time students at the university utilized the pantry.

Keweenaw Family Resource Center’s Baby Closet - $1,000

When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, the baby closet at the Keweenaw Family Resource Center (KFRC) in Houghton saw an increase in demand. In total they saw a 25-40 percent increase in the number of households over the last two years providing families with diapers, baby wipes and other needed diapering supplies. KFRC staff was able to use these funds to fill the closet, including purchasing sizes that they had a large need for.  Learn more about the KFRC at

L’Anse St. Vincent de Paul Christmas Food Baskets - $2,000

In L’Anse the St. Vincent De Paul has a Christmas tradition of providing food baskets to their friends in need. This year the group used funding from Portage Health Foundation to include a $10 coupon for local grocery stories to purchase meat/fish, eggs and milk. This was in addition to the rest of the food from the pantry that they usually provide in the baskets. The group also utilized funding to fill the shelves of their pantry in preparation for the busy holiday season.

Trinity Episcopal Church Food Pantry - $2,000

When the pandemic hit, volunteers at the Trinity Episcopal Church knew they needed to do something to help with the food insecurity issue that was clearly becoming even more of an issue in our community. They started a food pantry stocked with essential items. It was slow from the start with one visitor that first month. But they kept going, and eventually word got out. They now see between 25 and 30 visitors a month who receive all kinds of items including food, personal products, paper products, cleaning products and some baby products. PHF was able to help fill their shelves prior to Christmas through this grant.

Learn more about Portage Health Foundation grant opportunities at

Michael H. Babcock

Michael H. Babcock