The new location provides abundant room inside for storage and distribution. Previously, the pantry operated out of the shelter building at Huffman Park.

The new location provides abundant room inside for storage and distribution. Previously, the pantry operated out of the shelter building at Huffman Park.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Madison Heights Food Pantry moves into Central Church

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published January 11, 2021

 Vita Palazzolo and Amanda Stein, the director and president of the Madison Heights Food Pantry, cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the pantry’s new location at Central Church in Madison Heights.

Vita Palazzolo and Amanda Stein, the director and president of the Madison Heights Food Pantry, cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the pantry’s new location at Central Church in Madison Heights.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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MADISON HEIGHTS — The Madison Heights Food Pantry has a new base of operations.

Previously located in the shelter building at Huffman Park, the pantry recently relocated to Central Church, at 1529 12 Mile Road, next to Jimmy John’s. The church offered plenty of room for storage and distribution.

Those in need are invited to attend the next distribution from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m Saturday, Jan. 16. Distributions take place the first and third Saturdays of each month.

The Madison Heights Food Pantry originally formed in the spring of 2020 in direct response to the pandemic. While vaccines are beginning to roll out, officials such as infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci say that it could take until this fall before society returns to normal.

The impact on businesses has led to high levels of unemployment and underemployment, and with that, high levels of food insecurity. The pantry has endeavored to meet that need.

“We knew when we got the building at Huffman Park, it was a city building, so it was temporary, and that after we got things rolling there, the next milestone for the new year was a new location,” said Amanda Stein, the executive director and president of the Madison Heights Food Pantry.

At the ribbon cutting Jan. 2, officials including Stein and Madison Heights Mayor Roslyn Grafstein gathered around a string of ribbons in varying colors. Green ribbons represented the city, red ribbons represented the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Madison Heights Women’s Club, purple-and-yellow ribbons represented the Madison District Public Schools, and blue-and-white ribbons represented Lamphere Public Schools.

“The pantry is, to me, what last year was about: community, coming together to help our members,” Grafstein said.

The mayor thanked Sam Anderson, the pastor of Central Church, and everyone at the church for opening their doors to the pantry.

Stein said that the pantry originally approached several potential locations, and Central Church was quick to agree, initially offering one room, but then offering an even larger room once the church realized the full needs of the pantry. The new room gives the pantry not only plentiful room for storage but also room for lines. If need be, the line can wrap around the church while staying safely away from the traffic on 12 Mile Road, a stretch that can be a bit busy.

“I called to see if they could arrange a walkthrough, and we immediately fell in love with Central Church,” Stein said. “Pastor Sam is very, very welcoming. The whole church is welcoming. The church is a separate organization, but they’ve been wonderful to work with.”

Stein explained that once the government paycheck extensions ended in the fall, the pantry began seeing an increase in need. The numbers of recipients had been especially high in the spring, then they leveled off somewhat with the federal stimulus checks, only to shoot back up once the federal extension ended.

“Holidays tend to be a time when people donate a lot, so we saw the number of people in need hold steady then,” Stein said.

Now that the holidays are over, fewer people are donating, and the need is growing. Stein has been working to secure some grants and larger donations to get the pantry through the winter months. For her birthday, she was holding a fundraiser for the pantry and closing in on her target of $2,500 raised.

“That’d cover one full month of the pantry’s food, hygiene and cleaning essentials,” Stein said.

There are drop boxes located around town where people can drop off donations. The pantry always needs more staple items, like pasta, rice, peanut butter, jellies, pancake mix, syrup and cereal, as well as household cleaning supplies, diapers — both for babies and larger-size ones for adults — and hygiene items.

Donations can be dropped off directly at Central Church, in the bin at the west entrance; Clark Fabrication and Design, 1444 E. 11 Mile Road, in the wooden bin at the east entrance; Madison Heights City Hall, 300 W. 13 Mile Road, in the vestibule past the south entrance during business hours, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Pharmacy Shop, 28411 Dequindre Road, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays; and at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, located at 1434 E. 13 Mile Road.

One can also make donations by mailing or dropping off checks at Madison Heights City Hall, with “Madison Heights Food Pantry” on the memo line.

“It is a huge relief,” Stein said of the new location at Central Church. “We were so grateful to get (Huffman Park), but now we know we’re in our permanent location. I had a checklist of things we needed in a new building, and Central Church checks off every want. We’re just thrilled to be there.”

For more information, including deliveries, call the pantry at the church at (248) 547-3555.

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