Necessities drive organizer Eugenia Bajorek gathers donations from the trunk of a car Feb. 20 during Beacon UUC’s second necessities drive.

Necessities drive organizer Eugenia Bajorek gathers donations from the trunk of a car Feb. 20 during Beacon UUC’s second necessities drive.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Troy church hosts necessities drive for charities

By: Jonathan Shead | Troy Times | Published February 24, 2021

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TROY — While some people have bounced back from the financial woes of a pandemic that continues to impact the country economically, the need for food and other basic items at local charities persists right here at home.

The Social Justice Committee at Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation knows “the extreme need out there right now,” Co-chair Eugenia Bajorek said.

Beacon UUC hosted its second drive-thru necessities drive in the congregation’s parking lot, 4230 Livernois Road, 1-3 p.m. Feb. 20. Donation recipients included Rochester Neighborhood House, the Troy People Concerned Food Pantry, Foster Kids Closet, and Corner Shower and Laundry.

“It went great. I said it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. It was a beautiful day for our necessities drive too,” Bajorek said. “We couldn’t have had a nicer day as far as weather and sunshine. … People were generous, and it was a very good event.”

Monetary donations are being suggested for Feeding America, Gleaners Community Food Bank, HOPE Pontiac, COTS Detroit, and Corner Shower and Laundry.

After the last drive, the committee donated about three car loads worth of items. This time, they were able to donate more. Bajorek said the congregation was able to donate three vans full of necessities to the benefiting charities.

The more the merrier, said Rochester Neighborhood House Executive Director Kathy Losinski, who has continued to see families struggle to purchase fresh products. Items like fresh meat, dairy and vegetables have been in high demand in the Neighborhood House food pantry.

Those items benefit people in need more than one might think, she added.

“Food is a basic need, and our mission is to assist people on their path toward sustainability. Folks can’t succeed in their jobs or at school if they’re not well fed. Truly, a food drive benefits people, not just because they are able to be comfortable, but it impacts their entire life and lifestyle.”

Troy People Concerned Food Pantry Director Kim Houseman hasn’t seen the number of families she’s serving go down since the pandemic began in March 2020.

“Initially, it increased sixfold. We had so many people coming from Troy and other local cities that we were just overloaded with requests, even from big families,” she said. “A lot of who we serve are seniors in the community on low income or disability, but during the pandemic we’ve been helping all sizes of families in need who are struggling with keeping their job, (and) providing enough food for their families. I have a lot of families with young children that we’re helping at this time.”

Beyond food, Houseman and Losinski both said their organizations are in great need of cleaning products — paper towel, toilet paper, tissues, laundry detergent — and personal care products — toothpaste, deodorant, body wash, shampoo and soap.

Those items are less likely to be donated, Houseman said. Families in need can’t purchase those items with a Bridge card either, Losinski added.

“We couldn’t exist without being the beneficiary of community drives,” Losinski said, adding that 80% of Neighborhood House’s collections come from community drives. “It’s crucial, and we really appreciate the partnership.”

Bajorek extended her thanks to everyone who donated items during the drive.

“We’re very thankful that people donated and that people realize the need is out there. I’m sure that all the recipients were doubly thankful for the generosity,” she said, adding that the congregation plans to host another drive this spring.  “Our necessities drives aren’t going to solve the problems we have today; they’re just a small step to help. The problems are so much bigger.

“Our drive is a small attempt by our community to offer immediate assistance to those who are struggling and in dire need of food, shelter, and warmth during this time of crisis and chaos,” she added. “Real resolutions will take long-overdue changes in our system, our rules, our laws and in the inequities that exist in our country today. Perhaps the most important and challenging change is that of hearts, minds and souls.”

Monetary donations can be made online at the individual charities’ websites. Troy People Concerned accepts donations to their food pantry on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Visit stanastasia.org/news-events/feeding-those-in-need-food-pantry for updated needs.

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