By Sandra McNeill

DETROIT (WWJ) – Think the problem of being able to afford food only happens in places like Pontiac and Detroit?

Josh Bennett of Temple Israel of West Bloomfield has set up a food pantry once a month to help those in his community and surrounding cities like Farmington Hills, Keego Harbor and Commerce Township.

Bennett said the pantry served 50 people its first month back in April. Now it serves over 100, dishing up 12,000 pounds of fresh, healthy food from Forgotten Harvest.

Who is he serving? Bennett describes one client: a mom who until last year was making a six-figure income.

“She lost her job two months ago,” said Bennett. “has struggled to pay her rent, has not been able to renegotiate with the bank. She was really unable to feed her own children nutritious meals.”

“We have people who are taking food who have lost their jobs. We have people who are underemployed. We have people who have incredible medical expenses, who simply can’t pay their bills.”

How big is the problem?

“I don’t know the exact numbers of how many people are in need here in the northwest suburbs,” Bennett said. “I know that when people come, they express interest not only for themselves, but for their neighbors.”

Many are filled with shame. To help with that, the food pantry requires that all volunteers take home food. “The idea is that nobody knows who’s coming to volunteer, [or] who’s coming because they really need food.”

The pantry is open to all: Jewish and non-Jewish alike and from any community. It is open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. Call 248-661-5700 or visit this link for more information.


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