Father Fred Frostbite Food Drive collects donations despite polar vortex

The annual Father Fred Frostbite Food Drive went on as planned despite the frigid cold temperatures during the week. (WPBN/Rachael Schuit)

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Food insecurity is a struggle for some in Northern Michigan.

The Father Fred Frostbite Food Drive tries to reduce that insecurity.

Over the last couple of weeks, different places in Grand Traverse County have been collecting food and hygiene product donations for the food drive.

The Father Fred Foundation says it had thousands of visits to its food pantry last year and that the need for donations is great.

People who volunteered at the collection sites agreed.

"You go to the refrigerator and there's food you have the ability to go shopping and a lot of people don't," said Mark Jerva, who volunteered at the Team Bob's Collection Site with his daughters Sunday.

On average the Father Fred Food Pantry feeds 70 families each day.

Elaine Keaton, the Advancement Manager at the Father Fred Foundation says donations are down a bit because of last week's cold and snowy weather.

Due to the weather, one of the collection days at Team Bob's was canceled last week.

"It was just too cold for them to be outside," said Keaton.

The Frostbite Food Drive is one of two food drive's the Father Fred Foundation does each year and Keaton says donations will help those in need greatly in the coming weeks and months.

"After this polar vortex, the heating bills are gonna be really high so people are gonna have to make some tough choices. Do I pay to keep my heat on or do I pay some other choices? How do I pay for food? So that's why we're there in that situation," said Keating.

It's a need that collection sites like Oleson's hope to help alleviate.

"It means a lot we love to give back to the community. We just don't want to see anybody go hungry," said Layna Devincent, the Assistant Store Director of Oleson's.

Due to the weather, Keaton says the Father Fred Foundation has decided to continue taking donations towards the Frostbite Food Drive until February 15th.

"Help us help others. Help us fight hunger," said Keaton.

The final collection day for the donation sites was Sunday, February 3rd.

If you would like to donate you can go to the Father Fred Foundation in Traverse City or you can go to their website to donate online.

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