New projects will help Ottawa County food pantry feed more people

Published: May. 6, 2020 at 4:46 PM EDT
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An Ottawa County organization that helps those in need is expanding its operation. The Benton-Carroll-Salem Food Pantry is adding a couple gardens to its list of resources, and the new projects are cropping up at the perfect time.

The pantry, which has been open for 15 years, provides everything from groceries to fresh produce for those in need in Ottawa County. The pandemic has increased the need for help, and that's not expected to change anytime soon.

The pantry is housed in the basement of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Oak Harbor, but a number of local churches and organizations are involved.

The pantry provides thousands of meals every year. It operates like a grocery store, people are able to choose what they need.

There is an organic garden at St. Paul, and two other local churches are adding gardens this year to supply produce for the pantry.

"Right now we grow about 500-600 pounds of organic food every year at the garden at St. Paul," Scott Cunningham, associate pastor at St. Paul and the director of the food pantry, said. "The space is about an eighth of an acre. We grow things like tomatoes, corn, beans and beets. We're hoping with the addition of two more gardens, we're able to grow about 2,000 pounds of fresh produce within Ottawa County."

The pantry is open Monday and Thursday mornings from 8:30-11:30 a.m. People are able to pick up food once a month.

If you'd like to make a donation, or if you need help, we've posted a link. You can also send an email to