Volunteers Marsha Stamas, left, and Jim Mier, right, place items into bags inside The Bridge Food Center. (Photo provided/Marsha Stamas)
Midland's Open Door serves Easter dinner Sunday night, April 12, 2020 at their location on Buttles Street, 412 W. Buttles St. (Daily News file photo)
As Easter approaches, local organizations are working to provide Midland families in need with Easter dinners and goodie baskets.
The Bridge Food Center, 1539 Washington St. in Midland, has a wide selection of supplies for Easter dinner. The store, which opened in 2016, provides groceries at wholesale prices to people with household incomes of $64,000 or less. There are brand-name candy bars including M&Ms, Starbursts and Hershey bars in its snack row, perfect for Easter baskets. There is also fresh produce including apples and oranges for a healthy alternative.
“We have a great supply here for people to stock up for the holiday weekend,” said Marsha Stamas, volunteer supervisor at the Bridge.
The Bridge also has ham slices and New York strip steak for dinner. Stamas explained the store has been dealing with supply chain shortages but have kept its shelves full by stocking alternative brands. As the meat and produce costs have fluctuated, the Bridge is working to keep the retail price affordable through financial donations from the community.
“We’ve don’t run shorts on meats or produce,” Stamas said. “Our staples are still really solid as far as availability.”
The Bridge recently purchased the former Save-A-Lot location at 1826 S. Saginaw Road, near the Shelterhouse Resale Shop. They plan to move early in 2023. There will be an open house, 11-2 p.m. on Sunday, April 24.
Midland’s Open Door is planning on hosting an Easter dinner 6-7:30 p.m. on Sunday at 412 W. Buttles St, Midland. The soup kitchen is expecting to serve more than 8,000 meals – both dine-in and take-out – to those in need. In addition to the meal, there will be extra items available for pick-up such as accessory bags, personal care items, surplus food items and more. All meals, including the holiday dinner, are free of charge, and are provided and prepared by members of the generous community.
Auburn United Methodist Church, which is part of the Auburn Community Food Pantry is having a special distribution for Easter, providing food baskets for 58 families. The food baskets, which will be delivered on Friday, include items for a traditional Easter dinner including scalloped potatoes, a full ham, a dozen bakery rolls, margarine and a dozen eggs, with some foods supplemented by Midland-based Hidden Harvest. This year the church received frozen pizzas in memory of Richard LaFramboise, owner of La Pizza in Auburn; LaFramboise died on Feb. 7 after battling COVID-19 and pneumonia. There will also be coloring kits for kids to enjoy and toiletry bags.
“It’s a very nice basket,” said Melissa Grew, Auburn Community Food Pantry. “Anything that we can distribute on our shelves, we distribute that as well.”
Hidden Harvest helps with holiday baskets three times a year for Auburn United Methodist Church, helping families at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last Thanksgiving, the church assisted 92 families. Last Christmas, it served 103 families in a community effort with other area churches and schools.
“I want people to realize that the organization is open and available,” Grew stated.
Victoria Ritter grew up in Midland and after earning a degree in English at Grand Valley State University, returned. She joined the Daily News as its newsroom clerk, and eventually began editing obituaries, and in 2016 wrote her first article. She loves the arts, from reading and creative writing to catching a movie or singing in her church choir.