DELIVERING FOOD TO SHIAWASSEE COUNTY – Shown on Monday, May 4 at the rear of the CACS location on Corunna Avenue are (from left) Karen Campbell, Brenda Gale, Marty Ball (owner/operator of M&M Landscaping & Lawn Care), CACS Executive Director Becky Zemla and George Parks with little Mia.
Parks is a truck driver for Transfleet, Inc. of Perry. He has been driving semis for 38 years. Mia is his 9-year-old canine companion. The two are generally working out-of-state, but when Sheriff Brian BeGole made a call to Transfleet on Friday, May 1 about a food delivery concern in Lansing, Transfleet and Parks (and Mia) were quick to volunteer.
Likewise, Ball volunteered his services in handling the county-provided loader to make sure the pallets of food were all safely unloaded from the truck in preparation for the Tuesday distribution event.
Campbell and Gale met Ball with the loader at the storage entry and assisted in organizing the donations.
The food distribution for Shiawassee County was held Tuesday, May 5 at the Capital Area Community Services (CACS) location on Corunna Avenue. A drive-thru pick-up service was offered to participants who had met the poverty index guidelines, beginning on Corunna Avenue and continuing through to the rear of the facility. Due to the strain of the COVID-19 crisis, it was anticipated that numerous people would be in need of basic food items. In April, CACS assisted nearly 200 vehicles during the pick-up process in a single day. The May distribution saw even more organizers and volunteers come together in an impressive effort to serve the county. On Friday, May 1, Shiawassee Health & Wellness, had initiated the task of bringing the pallets of food over from Lansing. However, the truck utilized was not large enough for the total amount that needed to be delivered. Upon hearing of the need, Sheriff Brian BeGole, reached out to Transfleet, Inc. in Perry. Transfleet responded immediately by offering a semi for use on Monday morning and one of the long-time Transfleet drivers, George Parks, volunteered his services. Early Monday, Parks was in Lansing to pick up the remaining 18 palettes of food and bring them to Owosso.
BeGole, along with Dan McMasters, also arranged to have a loader on site – delivering the loader to CACS on Friday. CACS does not have a dock for unloading pallets. Marty Ball, owner/operator of M&M Landscaping & Lawn Care, who mows the CACS property, then volunteered to operate the loader when the truck arrived Monday. Ball also assisted in organizing the palettes of fresh produce contributed from the Greater Lansing Food Bank. Enormous pallets of oranges, grapefruit, potatoes and onions were on hand for the distribution. Due to the sheriff’s office, Transfleet, CACS organizers and volunteers, along with Parks and Ball, unloading the 18 pallets on Monday, happened without incident.
By Tuesday, May 5, all of the food items had been organized, and with several volunteers helping, over 300 orders were met during the drive-thru only distribution. Participants would pull in, pop their vehicle trunks, show proper identification, and the food orders were placed safely in their cars – in compliance with social distancing regulations.
Food distribution will continue through Friday, May 15 with safety guidelines in place, as well. Participants will need to pull into CACS, phone in and then food items will be set outside at the back of the facility for safe loading.
CACS is open from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. The Shiawassee County office is located at 1845 Corunna Ave., Owosso. For more information on CACS, please call (989) 723-3115.
The Shiawassee County essential needs hotline at (989) 743-2460 is still operational, too. Persons needing food, transportation, having housing issues and more are encouraged to call the hotline weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.