Source: Sherman Publications

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OCEF: ‘Community at work’
More than 200 families assisted in Thanksgiving distribution

by Susan Bromley

November 21, 2012

More than 13,600 items were donated to the Ortonville Community Emergency Fund for the Thanksgiving distribution, helping to ensure that every family in the Brandon School District would have a holiday feast.

"This is the community at work," said OCEF Food Pantry Director Karyn Milligan on Monday, as she and OCEF volunteers prepared to distribute bags of food to low-income clients in need.

Businesses, Boy Scout troops, students, school staff, and area residents contributed donations of food and Bueche's gift cards to help 206 families in the community.

"This is how OCEF works," said Milligan. "We are community-based, for the people in our community and supported by the community and our pantry would not be here without them. Every well wish, prayer, can, monetary donation, gift card is massively appreciated and the clients really have grateful hearts."

More than 150 volunteers gave their time to assist with the Thanksgiving food sort and distribution. Now OCEF looks ahead to Christmas.

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."

In addition to the giving tree, OCEF also has a program where businesses or families can "adopt a family" and grant wishes.

"Sometimes people are afraid to adopt a family because it will cost a lot of money, but you can pick the size family you want-- a family of one, a family of three, and you purchase those items from their wish list," said Milligan. "A lot of people use the adopt a family as a family outing to go shopping... Businesses do it, and some of the schools do it, using "casual for a cause" to adopt a family. You can go in with other people to grant Christmas wishes for a family."

Donations of the following items for the food pantry are also 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..

Volunteers are needed 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.

Contact new OCEF Volunteer Coordinator Karen Kubik, 248-627-3965, ext. 102 or email