Local firefighter sparks effort to help those in need - WNEM TV 5

Local firefighter sparks effort to help those in need

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Nearly a dozen area food pantries are being re-stocked thanks to the initiative of one local fire fighter.

Chief Mark Newvine has seen a lot in his 22 years as a Bay City firefighter. But it's what he's seen in the community recently that motivated him to take action.

"We run so many calls in different areas and see so much poverty in the city of Bay City. We just thought it'd be a good thing if we could help some of these people out. Especially this time of year with Thanksgiving coming up and the holidays and so forth," Newvine said.

He and his fellow firefighters held a food drive during the month of October collecting food for area families in need.

"At first it was a little slow, I was wondering 'I hope this works.' Then all of a sudden it started flowing in and our kitchen here was basically inundated with food. It was really exciting, really thrilling," Newvine said.

Archie Gittens was just as thrilled to pick up the donations today. He works with the United Way and says the food couldn't have come at a better time.

"Many of the shelves at the pantries are down to bare minimum. So this is an excellent opportunity to restock some of the pantries locally and to provide at least that boost that so many families need during the holiday season," Gittens said.

All of the food collected is being distributed to 11 food pantries throughout Bay County. But if you're in need, you only have to call one number - the food connection hotline.

"We then contact either the pantries directly or a person who works within some of the pantries to be able to refer the people to the closest pantry that's available to them when they have need," Gittens said.

Gittens said the 500 pounds of food collected by the firefighters will help a lot of people. And that's exactly what the Chief Newvine was hoping for.

"I'm very happy, very thrilled," said Gittens.

This is the first year for the food drive. The firefighters hope to collect even more food next year. If you need assistance from a food pantry in the bay area, call the Food Connection Hotline at 1-888-392-5454.


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