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Leading OCEF into holidays

Karyn Milligan, new OCEF food pantry director. (click for larger version)
November 07, 2012 - Heading into the busy holiday season, the Ortonville Community Emergency Fund has a new food pantry director, but her face will be familiar to OCEF clients and volunteers.

Karyn Milligan has been named the new St. Anne Christian Services coordinator and OCEF food pantry director. After serving as OCEF president and volunteer coordinator for the past 12 years, Milligan is well-versed in the needs of the non-profit organization that provides assistance to low-income families in the Brandon School District.

"I prayed about it a lot, but I applied for the position and here I am and I'm loving it," said Milligan. "This is like a continuation of my spiritual journey. I'm following in footsteps that can't be duplicated, but I have two angels with me— my heavenly angel Gwen, and my angel here on Earth, Judy."

Milligan is referring to her predecessors— Judy Henley, who retired as long-time food pantry director in June 2010 after 13 years, and Gwen Koss, who succeeded Henley, but recently passed away.

"With those two at my side, I feel really, really blessed," said Milligan. "I've been in this community since 1977 and I am blessed to be able to serve this community— the most giving community I have ever known."

OCEF currently has about 130 families visiting the food pantry monthly. In any one given month, providing food for families needing assistance is a $7,000-$8,000 endeavor for OCEF. During the holiday season, the number of families seeking help from OCEF increases. Last Thanksgiving and Christmas OCEF served about 200 families. Milligan expects similar numbers this holiday season and is seeking help from the community in meeting the need.

Donations of the following items are requested from those able to give: Cake mix and frosting; canned fruit; cereal; cranberry sauce; evaporated milk; Jell-O/pudding; peanut butter; jelly; gravy/broth; pasta; macaroni and cheese; stuffing mix; muffin/quick bread mix; canned soup; tuna; corn; green beans; other canned vegetables; toilet paper; and paper towels. Also appreciated are $15 Bueche's gift cards, which can be used to purchase meat and other fresh items.

Able to give of your time? Volunteers are needed for the Thanksgiving food sort, planned for 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 18 and for the packing of food which begins at 8 a.m., Monday, Nov. 19 and the distribution to clients, starting at 3 p.m.

Christmas is right around the corner and OCEF is also seeking volunteers for the Christmas food sort, Dec. 16, and packing and distribution on Dec. 17. All volunteer activities take place at St. Anne Church, 825 S. Ortonville Road. Last year, about 340 volunteers were needed to accomplish both Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday distributions.

The "giving tree" at St. Anne is already up, and waiting for benefactors who would like to grant wishes this Christmas.

OCEF adult clients can submit a wish for an item they would like and children are granted two wishes. Some of the items asked for on the giving tree this year are "bed-in-a-bag," "make-up kits," "Barbie dolls," "Lego Ninjas," "hoodie sweatshirt," "Mickey Mouse," "Tigger," "Thomas the Train," and "Angry Birds."

Details: 248-627-3965.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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