ROCHESTER, Mich. (April 3, 2020) – Lighthouse, a Pontiac-based nonprofit dedicated to fighting homelessness and poverty, Oakland University and Pontiac Community Foundation announced today they have joined forces in a collaborative effort with several other agencies to expand emergency food distribution to Oakland County residents in need during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis, fueled by a new $300,000 grant from United Way for Southeastern Michigan.
Since the outbreak began, Lighthouse and its partners have assisted more than 3,000 individuals — including more than 1,424 children — as they work round-the-clock to meet the soaring demand for assistance.
“While these are difficult and anxious days, we are inspired by the efforts of Lighthouse and the many others working tirelessly to serve individuals, families and children in our community,” said Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz. “In times of need, we are coming together, sharing university resources and consolidating efforts in the true spirit of community.”
The emergency food packaging and storage operation was moved to Oakland Center on the Oakland University (OU) campus in Rochester to meet the increasing need and to ensure the continued health and safety of volunteers. Lighthouse recently purchased 13,000 pounds of food to distribute and quickly needed to replenish those supplies. The most recent purchase of 27,000 pounds of food from Meijer on April 1 filled two Gardner-White trucks. Lighthouse will receive $10,000 in additional donated food from Meijer.
The Oakland Center on OU’s campus is the epicenter of the packing effort. Home delivery is also now being coordinated so that households, including seniors, at-risk populations, and those without transportation, can receive food and supplies while remaining at home.
“We are truly grateful to United Way for Southeastern Michigan for funding this life sustaining initiative and to Oakland University and our many partners who are working so hard to help the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Lighthouse CEO Ryan Hertz. “This partnership will expand our efforts so we can get more food more quickly to a greater number of families who need it most. With the extra space at OU, we can also increase the number of volunteers working at a safe distance from one another during this frightening pandemic.”
To request assistance or volunteer, visit mycovidresponse.org or call Lighthouse at (248) 920-6000 (press the number 2).
For those who can safely leave their homes to pick up food, Lighthouse continues to distribute food, household items and other basics from the following sites:
· Lighthouse in Pontiac: 46156 Woodward Ave.
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
· Lighthouse in Clarkston: 5850 Dixie Hwy.
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m.
· Lighthouse St. David’s Food Pantry: 16200 W. 12 Mile, Southfield
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Access to pantry services has increased and the amount of food being provided will expand beyond a one-week supply if donations are maintained to support the volume of food needed. Lighthouse is purchasing much of the food at or below cost from Meijer, Gleaners and other sources to ensure a variety of fresh, healthy options.
Other collaborating organizations involved in this effort include: Oakland Schools, Micah 6 Community, Timberland Landscape, Oakland County Sheriff PAL and the City of Pontiac. Gardner-White and Two Men and a Truck continue to deliver food boxes to Lighthouse’s satellite locations.
3 WAYS TO HELP RIGHT NOW:
An online fundraising campaign is underway to raise the funds needed to fuel the emergency response for as long as the COVID-19 crisis continues. Donations can be made via HandUp by clicking this link or visiting www.lighthousemi.org/Covid-19.
Drop Off Food Donations:
· Lighthouse in Pontiac, 46156 Woodward Ave. (DOOR B)
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00p.m.
· Lighthouse in Clarkston, 5850 Dixie Highway
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m
· Gardner-White – Auburn Hills only, 4445 N Atlantic Blvd, Auburn Hills
Monday-Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
· To protect all involved, Lighthouse and Oakland University have implemented strict volunteering rules, guidelines, and procedures.
· Volunteers are needed to help pack food boxes.
· Volunteer Drivers are needed to deliver food boxes to up to five households at a time.
· Register to volunteer here.