Pop up food bank in Negaunee helps those in need during pandemic

NEGAUNEE — Many people across the country are struggling to attain necessary resources like food.

Lorrie Hayes of Negaunee came up with an idea to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. She approached Smarty’s Saloon owner Scott Soeltner about placing a pop up food bank outside of his establishment. Soeltner was happy to be a part of this community outreach.

“I put a table out, I put a bag of groceries that I had bought, and I put it out there and gave people the opportunity, ‘Take what you need, leave what you can,'” said Hayes. “And boy, the people started leaving what they could.”

So many people have stopped by to drop off items that Lorrie has since had to add a second table.

She says that during this financially and emotionally difficult time, it’s amazing to see the Negaunee community coming together to help one another.

“All of us are struggling; no one’s excluded from this,” said Hayes. “But when you want to get all of that off your mind, you go and help somebody else. And all I did was give an opportunity for people to help people. I didn’t know how it was going to go, but I am so happy that I did it.”

The food bank is located on Iron Street, so it’s easily accessible and right in the heart of the community. Hayes hopes that everyone who is able will leave whatever they can to help their neighbors, and that anyone in need will stop by and take something.

“Everybody buzzes the gut in Negaunee,” Hayes said. “Even if you go to the gas station, you still ride through town. So everybody can see what’s going on. Anybody that needs the table, please use it. And anybody that can leave something at the table, please do it. It will brighten your day, and you know that you’re helping somebody.”

The pop up food bank can be found outside Smarty’s Saloon from approximately 9 a.m. until 6:30 p.m., weather permitting.