The Father Fred Foundation food pantry had close to 14,000 visits last year, and on an average day, the pantry serves 70 local families. Help keep the shelves stocked this winter during the 25th Annual Frostbite Food Drive January 26–February 3. This year’s goal is to collect 1,000 boxes of food.

On Super Bowl Sunday (February 3), there will be a friendly competition of Guys vs. Gals spearheaded by Grand Traverse Woman Magazine. Last year the gals collected just one more can than the guys.

Best items to donate
  • 5-ounce cans of tuna
  • 5-ounce cans of chicken
  • Canned soups
  • Oatmeal
  • Dried beans, 1-pound bags
  • Peanut butter
  • Rice
  • Spaghetti or pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Canned fruits, packed in juice

Cash donations are also needed to help purchase perishable items such as milk, meat and eggs. Donate online at or at one of the donation sites.

The Father Fred Foundation is a volunteer-driven local charity, assisting neighbors in need with a variety of essential resources such as free food, clothing and financial assistance. The organization does not accept state or federal funding and depends completely on the generosity of the community.

Donation Drop-off sites
  • Team Bob’s at S. Airport and Park, across from Art Van Furniture
  • Fox Grand Traverse, US 31
  • Family Fare at Chum’s Corner
  • Tom’s East Bay
  • Oleson’s at Three Mile and Hammond
  • 37 local businesses have also offered to have in-house collections

2018 Food Pantry Facts

  • Requests for assistance 13,698
  • Estimated value of products distributed $610,386
  • Number of unduplicated families 3,745
  • Average family size 3–4 (2 adults and 1–2 children)
  • Total # of service days in 2018 196
  • Average visits to pantry each day 70
  • Total hours open in a week 21
  • Estimated cost of food distributed per visit $45 (for a family of 4)
  • Perishables estimated cost per month $5,024 (milk, eggs, butter, meat)
  • Produce estimated cost per month $3343.66
  • Volunteers needed per shift 8 (6 to fill orders, 2 to stock)
  • Food given helps a family for 3-4 days
  • We offer a self-shop experience. Guests select their own food items.
  • Volunteers track and offer recipes and other resources.
  • Each family receives milk, eggs, butter, and meat at each visit.
  • Fresh produce is always available.
  • Need cash to purchase produce, dairy and meat as these items are difficult to accept for donation and are therefore purchased.
  • Respectfully request families visit us only two times per month, but we will always listen to the story first. Always ready with referrals to other pantries and community meals.
  • Feeding America estimates that 1 in 6 families in Michigan struggle with food insecurity.
  • The 2019 Frostbite Food Drives marks our 25th year!

Stories from The Pantry

-Mary is a retired nurse that worked with Father Fred at the State Hospital. Due to her diabetes, her Social Security does not always cover her expenses. She sometimes needs help at the end of the month for food and clothing as the seasons change.

–April is a young mother of three. She had many medical problems after her last pregnancy and she had to have eight surgeries in 2018. She is able to get help with food and clothing during this very challenging time in her life.

–Roxanne works full-time but due to several accidents, she has had to rely on workers’ compensation, which leaves her with little money left for food at the end of the month. She utilizes the food pantry to help her get by until she can go back to work.

Press release provided by The Father Fred Foundation.

Giving Back in Northern Michigan