Kampout for KAIR: Largest food drive gearing up for sixth year

Lauren Clark, Contributing Writer

Review file photo

Scouts and other volunteers helped collect, package and load up some of the donated items during a previous 24-Hour Kampout for KAIR at the Bill Marsh dealership on West Mile Road in Kalkaska. This year’s event is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12.


KALKASKA –The single largest 24-hour food drive to benefit the Kalkaska Area Interfaith Resources (KAIR) food pantry returns to Bill Marsh Ford beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11. Boy Scout Troop 629 members, KAIR volunteers, Bill Marsh employees and others will be set up at the M-72 dealership with trucks ready to accept donations until 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12.

In 2018, the drive secured 18,000 pounds of food and household goods providing items that KAIR needed to help the nearly 1,000 people who use its services regularly. KAIR is currently providing 24,000 pounds of goods per month to clients.

Local grocery stores Northland Food and Family Fare will remain open for 24 hours and offer special deals on needed items in conjunction with the food drive.

All non-perishable food, household items and monetary donations are accepted throughout the drive but an emphasis is put on items such as: cereal, peanut butter, canned meats, oatmeal, canned fruits and vegetables, dried fruits, pasta, soups, toilet paper, laundry soap and toothpaste.

While children, single mothers, elderly, disabled, and homeless residents account for the majority of KAIR clients, the 501(c) (3) nonprofit does not turn away anyone in true need or an emergency situation. By providing household staples through its pantry, utility assistance, resale store vouchers, and holiday meal distribution, KAIR has helped local citizens stay safe, warm and fed since 1996.

In the aftermath of an April apartment fire that displaced over a dozen Kalkaska families, KAIR offered furniture, personal items and assistance to everyone impacted.

Fire victims Shelby Kuutila and her two young children, were relieved to learn that KAIR was offering items to replace some of what was lost.

“They let me come in and pick out a dining room table and chairs, coffee table, sheets and an emergency pack with hygiene items,” Kuutila said. “There are so many things that you lose in a fire, it was nice to cross those off my list. I am so grateful for all of the support from my community.”

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