St. Vincent DePaul in L’Anse sees success with expanded food pantry

With growth comes expansion and that’s no different for the St. Vincent DePaul store in L’Anse.

Earlier this year they began looking for a new space to operate their food pantry from and it wasn’t long until they reached an agreement the rent to Knights of Columbus building just north of downtown.

Deacon John Cadeau, Spiritual Adviser for St. Vincent DePaul in L’Anse, said, “It’s working out a lot better here. There’s more privacy for our friends in need that come in and seek our help. We have all the food in one place; it’s all on the first floor, one level. We’re not moving it up and down stairs. It’s more secure, it’s more space, and it’s better for the friends in need here.”

The privacy, security, and increased parking have made the expansion a success in the public’s eye. And much of what is offered at the food pantry is supplied through community donations.

“We get donations from school groups; we get donations coming from individuals, and we get donations from some of the businesses,” Deacon Cadeau said. “Ladies in the different churches get together and put on events and raise food for us. It’s a community-wide effort to provide this pantry.”

What’s given out at the pantry is tailored to each person’s needs, and it’s open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 to 3 p.m.

Coming up the Sacred Heart Conference is preparing gift baskets to hand out during the holidays.

“This makes it very convenient for us here because we set everything up and the people come in and are able to go down the lines,” Deacon Cadeau said. “For all the different families in Baraga County, they register ahead of time, and so we have all of the food here and then they pick the items that they would like to have in that basket, that they can use. It usually involves about 200 families.”

Between the thrift store and the food pantry, successful operation of St. Vincent DePaul in L’Anse requires a good number of volunteers, and they’re always looking for the willing.

Georgia Schmidt, President of the Sacred Heart Conference of St. Vincent DePaul in L’Anse, said, “I’m asking Baraga County, they’re wonderful, but if they could step up again, a couple hours a week would be wonderful.”

“We can find something for them to do,” Deacon Cadeau concluded with a laugh.

In 2013, the Sacred Heart Conference of St. Vincent DePaul in L’Anse contributed $80,000 to those who needed assistance with utilities, and $36,000 in food assistance.