David Crocker likes to say that Operation Inasmuch is not just a “one and done.”
Operation Inasmuch, Inc., has trained thousands of churches to conduct a single day of community outreach to serve those in need. But “once is not enough!”
But sometimes a church needs no training!
The following article shows how churches in the Cheasaning, Michigan area turned their Inasmuch United into a lifetime of caring for the hungry. The article was published in the online Tri-County Citizen on May 6, 2012:
CHESANING – For the past year, Chesaning area volunteers have been dedicating one Saturday a month to provide food for those in need. It’s an extension of Operation Inasmuch; which focuses on helping others. During the past year, several area churches, local businesses, some national chain stores and the Chesaning Union School District have all contributed to make the food program work. Once a month, each family receives a box full of food to help them through tough times. Cash donations are needed to keep these truckloads of food coming.
The project coordinator, who prefers to remain anonymous, said, “We got through the first year. We can see this is going to be a big need in the community, and we’re growing.” Presently, 175 boxes are given out on a monthly basis, feeding about 475 people per month.
The coordinator explained that while the food is not free, over the past year, the cost of truckloads of food has been $500 each month. But with increased fuel costs, the food will now be $600 each month. Local churches, businesses, even several individuals, have donated money to keep the food deliveries coming.
Those in need who would like to be put on the list of food recipients should go sign up at the Chesaning Area Emergency Relief (CAER) center up to two weeks before the food is delivered. The truck arrives on the second Saturday each month, loaded with 10,000 lbs. of food coming from the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan.
Swartzmiller Lumber owner Don Swartzmiller has been bringing equipment to unload the truck each month. Approximately 50 volunteers help through much of the day sorting food into boxes.
Over the past year, most of the food distributions have taken place at Trinity United Methodist Church. Although during the winter months, they were able to use the Chesaning Union Schools bus garage; which enabled volunteers to work indoors.
During the past year, the following organizations, and individuals, have donated funds to cover the cost of the monthly food deliveries: Our Lady Catholic Church, St. Mary Church of Albee, St. Michael Church of Oakley, Trinity United Methodist Church of Chesaning, Family Dollar, Walmart, and even an individual who had benefited from the food program while he was unemployed.
Other organizations that have contributed include: Frank’s Super Market (provided older shopping carts and boxes for packing food), Nixon’s Grocery (helps with food for community suppers), and the Boy Scouts (carry boxes to vehicles for people and help with the community suppers).
The coordinator said, “This is not really a church thing; it’s a community thing. It’s a community project. A lot of people are not affiliated with a church.”
With so many families needing help at this time, more cash donations and volunteer labor are needed to continue this worthwhile Operation Inasmuch food program.
“Some of the recipients think the food is free. It’s not free. It’s kind of a hardship for us to do this. But the need is here,” the coordinator said.
Donations can be directed to the Trinity United Methodist Church. Those interested in volunteering can call the church as well; (989) 845-3157.