Due to financial reasons, that partnership might be in jeopardy.
Salvation Army Corps Officer Major Owen Thompson said between the cost of maintaining The Red Barn on Broomfield Road, where the food pantry is housed, along with reductions to fundraising, “something has to give,” and it just might be the partnership between the two organizations.
“The problem has been largely expenses,” Thompson said. “The Salvation Army’s income has been down, and our fundraisers haven’t been bringing in a lot. We have to cut costs somewhere. The CCN has been covering a lot of the expenses for the pantry, and it’s wearing on them.”
The food pantry, located at 2420 E. Broomfield Road, serves, on average, 265 needy Isabella County families per week. According to Thompson, it costs about $150,000 annually to keep the building maintained – a cost that is becoming astronomical for the two organizations.
Thompson said he is in the midst of discussions with Saye Schaeffer, interim director of the CCN, in order to work out an arrangement so the partnership can continue.
“After looking at both of our situations, the split is a possibility, but we’re working to prevent that,” he said. “We’re really trying to work to save this and continue our services with CCN.”
Schaeffer, who declined comment on CCN’s financial situation, said the organization will do its best to remain partners, but hopes regardless of what happens, the community will still show support.
“As of now, there’s no time frame for a decision to be made,” Schaeffer said. “We are going to continue conversation with both the local Salvation Army and their regional office out of Grand Rapids, and we hope to be able to continue a good partnership. I hope people will continue to support donations to the community pantry, because it’s needed in Isabella County.”
Thompson said despite recent struggles, the pantry will remain open for the foreseeable future.
“The bottom line is this: There will be a food pantry in Mount Pleasant,” he said. “We’re looking at how we’ll make it work, but it will happen.”
Anyone with questions or concerns is encouraged to contact either The Salvation Army or the Community Compassion Network.
“Go to the source,” Thompson urged community members. “Contact the Salvation Army or the CCN with questions. Don’t listen to rumors.”