Ferris State University’s Department of Public Safety delivered nearly 500 pounds of non-perishable food to the Wesley House Food Pantry, near the main campus in Big Rapids, on Thursday, Feb. 21. The delivery was the result of the department’s first Food for Fines initiative.
DPS Assistant Director Gary Green and department student employees dropped off items, which were accepted from people who received parking citations during the month of January.
“This was an opportunity for students to help their peers,” Green said. “We know that the Wesley House Food Pantry is a good cause, here on campus, so we made Food for Fines available during the first week of February.”
The 46 citations that were voided would have resulted in $855 of fines paid by the students who contributed. Students who donated five non-perishable items could have their $10 ticket forgiven, while 10 items donated was sufficient to resolve a $20 fine. Those who had $5 late fees could see the charge removed by through the donation of two canned goods.
“There are no specified plans to offer Food for Fines again, at this point,” Green said. “The reaction within the department has been very positive; perhaps the program will be brought back, closer to the end-of-year holidays.”
Devon Herrell, Wesley House director, greeted the DPS group when it arrived with the donated food items. She said that the food will help the pantry maintain adequate stock through the Spring 2019 semester.
“There has been a consistent need, throughout this academic year, and we are seeing new students visit the pantry,” Herrell said. “Our students may not be aware of other food pantries and support agencies in the Big Rapids area. Donations like this, along with contributions by individuals and community groups, help us defray the costs of operating the pantry.”
The Wesley House Food Pantry has completed three years of service and attempts to maximize its financial donations through the purchase of staple foods from Feeding America West Michigan, which is based in Comstock Park. The regional distributor serves a network of roughly 900 hunger-relief operations in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.
“We are very thankful for the Food for Fines program and its support,” Herrell said. “I believe their offer is a sign that God is helping us to keep going. We are glad that the DPS sought us out.”
The Wesley House Food Pantry is available at Wesley House, 628 S. Warren in Big Rapids, near North Hall. Spring 2019 hours are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. each Wednesday. Food and personal hygiene products can be offered by contacting the pantry staff by email.
PHOTO CAPTION: David Lingaur, a Ferris State University junior from Clare majoring in Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement, is shown here delivering donated food items to Wesley House on Thursday, Feb. 21. The donations were made by the Ferris Department of Public Safety as a result of its Food for Fines initiative.