We need your help filling the shelves of local pantries as we continue our Summer Stock Up campaign. Your donations will benefit food pantries like UCOM.

WYOMING, Mich. — We need your help filling the shelves of local pantries as we continue our Summer Stock Up campaign. Our two-day Drive-Thru Dash kicks off Wednesday.  Simply drive up and we’ll grab the donations from your car. Those donations will benefit food pantries across West Michigan.

The United Church Outreach Ministry (UCOM) is one of the pantries benefiting from your donations, and it has a focus on healthy food options.

It’s located on Chicago Drive SW in Wyoming, welcoming the community with signs in both English and Spanish.

They offer services for both emergency and ongoing needs, like help with financial literacy, workforce development and health and nutrition classes.

They also have their own garden to grow fruits and vegetables, which are sold at affordable rates through the Farm Stand. Then, there are community spaces available for you to grow and maintain your own garden.

“Our pantry is a healthy client choice pantry and we really stress the healthy piece of that. A lot of the food is focused on being nutritious options that are really going to support our neighbors in the midst of need,” said Pantry Manager Katie Vanderwal. “You’ll notice a lot of the fresh produce in the coolers. Even the canned goods. We try to find low sodium canned goods or fruit that’s canned in its own juices, instead of in syrups.”

The UCOM Farm Stand offers, “all fresh, local produce from farmers in the area,” said Vanderwal, who also says she values the Farm Stand as a way to connect “our local farmers to our local neighbors and also offers as kind of an in-between step.” 

“So, the pantry is free but it’s limited. We can only do that once or twice a month. The Farm Stand, you can come and shop at as often as you want, Monday through Thursday, and it is an income-based sliding scale program,” Vanderwal said. “So, our low-income qualifying neighbors can come and get discounted produce that’s fresh, local, good from our farmers but it’s removed from that financial burden from them.”

UCOM offers much more than just food. Even striving to make you smile with a bouquet of flowers for you and a friend with every visit to the pantry. It’s an item that can’t always make it on the budget, but always offers a nice boost.

With UCOM, they offer help to those who are self-declared. Meaning, if you identify as being in need, help is available. Just call and make an appointment at 616-241-4006 or visit the UCOM website.

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