Delta County food pantries get a helping hand

GLADSTONE — Three charitable organizations in Delta County received a large sum of money Friday to help keep those in need well fed.

The John and Melissa Besse Foundation presented a $250,000 check to the two St. Vincent De Paul food pantries in Gladstone and Escanaba and the Escanaba Salvation Army food pantry Friday morning. As the Besse’s often made donations to these groups in the past, the Foundation that carries their name looked to them as recipients of Friday’s gift.

“We got talking to them, and we realized that there’s a need to help out with the food pantries particularly as they enter into the summer months, and so we just thought, ‘well, that would be a great thing to do to make sure that people have some food in their kitchen cupboards,'” said Greg Besse, president of the Foundation.

“It is going to mean that our friends and neighbors — the residents of Delta County — are going to have those basic needs met. Those who are facing difficult times and hard things in their life are going to have some places to turn to help meet the basic needs so that they can also take care of their family needs,” said Major Ralph Hansen, corps officer for the Escanaba Salvation Army.

“This is going to help us free up money that’s given to the conference that we purchase food with, that we can now take that money and help with utility bills, and rent, and housing, and heat, and medical expenses,” said Gale St. Martin, president of the All Saints St. Vincent De Paul Conference in Gladstone. “So it frees up some of the conference money to help us in other areas.”

Officials from the food pantries say the donation will be especially helpful for providing perishable items such as meats and produce.