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FISH needs volunteers for Renaissance Festival drive



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August 15, 2012 - Oxford-Orion FISH is in desperate need of volunteers to collect food donations at this year's Renaissance Festival in order to restock its pantry and feed those in need.

"By now, we have hardly any food left in our basement. It's almost empty," explained FISH Pantry Coordinator Sandy Klersy. "I'm having to buy a lot more food. That's always true around this time (of year) because (the donations) just aren't coming in."

Klersy is looking for volunteers willing to work two-hour shifts at the Renaissance Festival in Groveland/Holly townships between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 3 (Labor Day).

Festival visitors who bring four nonperishable food items with them that day will receive $5 off their admission price.

All the food goes directly to FISH's pantry shelves.

"This (food drive) is what carries us through until Christmas when everybody wants to donate. This one's a big one," Klersy said. "It takes almost 30 volunteers to get this done. Right now, I think I have six (signed up)."

Volunteers will be expected to collect food donations from festival-goers, sort and box the items on site, then load them all into a truck bound for Oxford.

"Last year, we did two days (at the festival), so we filled two trucks," Klersy said. "We're hoping the turnout is just as well this year because we really, really need the food."

The reason FISH doesn't have two days this year is because Lighthouse Emergency Services in Clarkston needed a day to restock its pantry.

"They're running so low," Klersy said. "Their pantry is worse than ours right now."

Klersy noted the FISH pantry appears to be maintaining a steady number of clients these days.

"It seems like we'll lose a few families, but then we'll gain the same amount," she said. "We're not going up or down; we're staying the same. Last month, we lost like four families that got jobs or moved out of the area, but we gained four to replace them. We're kind of still holding our own."

As always, it's been a busy summer for FISH as unlike the rest of us, hunger doesn't take a vacation.

In June, the group provided 15,240 pounds of food to 187 households consisting of 450 individuals. FISH gained 13 new clients that month.

In July, FISH gave 14,394 pounds of food to 178 households consisting of 455 individuals. The group gained 17 new clients.

Those interested in volunteering to help FISH at the Renaissance Festival are encouraged to please call (248) 628-3933 and leave a message or send an e-mail to oxfordorionfish@gmail.com.

To learn more about FISH and all the good things this group does on a daily basis, visit www.oxfordorionfish.org.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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