More than just a food pantry, Lakeshore Resource Center will serve those in need.

November 18, 2015

Lakeshore Resource Center

Lakeshore Resource Center

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Mason County residents who find themselves in need of food and services will soon have a centralized location to receive assistance. The Lakeshore Resource Center, located at 920 E. Tinkham Ave. — the former home of Lakeshore Lumber Company — is expected to open in late spring or early summer 2016.

The building is a collaboration between several area agencies and churches, including Pennies from Heaven Foundation, United Way of Mason County, West Michigan Community Mental Health, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Cornerstone Baptist Church, TrueNorth Community Services, Habitat for Humanity of Mason County, American Red Cross and others.

E:jobs2015Kendra ThompsonLakeshore Resource NetworkdrawingsIt is being promoted as a “one pantry system” and a combination of other area food pantries, most of which are located at area churches.

“This facility is really important because it is doing it differently,” Monica Schuyler, executive director of Pennies from Heaven Foundation, said. “A lot of resources and aid are trying to help to fix the problem of poverty but it takes more than meeting an immediate need to really affect change. This program is looking at how we can do that, how can we pull together ability and resources and make a change, so it’s not just giving you what you need now but how can we impact the long term.

The LRN will be based on the Community Food Club of Grand Rapids, a grocery store-­‐style environment that is open with convenient hours. Participants join the food club for a $10 monthly fee. Food is purchased in pounds and is sold based on household size. The rear of the LRN building will be set up like a grocery store.

In addition, the LRN will employ a full-time director and the center will provide assistance on safe and affordable housing assistance, utility assistance, volunteer and mentoring services. It would also provide employment training for individuals who are underemployed and unemployed; home ownership and home repair training and financial management and literacy training.

“This is part of our effort to make Madon County a community of choice,” said John Wilson, president of the Pennies from Heaven Foundation. “In other words we want to make Mason County a community where we support each other.”

The building is expected to serve as an emergency relief center with shower and laundry facilities.

Schuyler said the advantage of LRN is that it would have larger buying power and a larger volunteer base because of its size.

Plans are still underway for part of the property to also house the Ludington Fire Department. Because of the fire department sharing the lot, a portion of the rear of the LRN building will be reduced in size to accommodate set-backs.