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Renaissance Vineyard Accepting Food, Funding for Thanksgiving Baskets

Renaissance Vineyard Accepting Food, Funding for Thanksgiving Baskets

(Lara Mossa, Nov. 5, 2020)

Ferndale, MI – Kind-hearted people have until Nov. 18 to donate food or money to make the Thanksgiving Day holiday nicer for families in need in the Ferndale area. This year, due to financial challenges brought on by the Coronavirus, the need is greater than ever.

“The donations are down so extremely low,” said Doug Gillespie, Pantry Director for the Renaissance Vineyard Church Food Pantry. “It’s quite a struggle for all the pantries in the area.”

Gillespie, who has been the director for three years, started collecting Thanksgiving Day items in September. The agency used to compile 40 food baskets for families for the holiday, but, this year, expects to deliver 75 baskets. A food drive for more than 20 years, the pantry provides everything from turkeys to desserts. Donors are encouraged to include boxed potatoes, green beans, hot chocolate and oatmeal among other items.

While the Ferndale-based nonprofit organization does not have a set goal for donations, it has collected more than $4,000 this year. To help the cause, the Ferndale Elks sold T-shirts to raise money and donated a $2,000 check to the pantry.

The Renaissance Vineyard Church Food Pantry serves a little more than 100 families a month. Each family receives about 60 pounds of food distributed on the first and third Mondays of the month. The pantry is run by volunteers – including some high school students – and partners with Gleaner’s and Forgotten Harvest to provide meals. The goal is to provide balanced dinners and breakfast including frozen meats, vegetables, bread and canned goods. Typically, the families do their own shopping at the pantry, but, because of the Coronavirus, the group is now distributing food to individuals in their cars by appointment only. Donations also include personal items such as toothpaste, razors, baby goods, feminine products and even cat and dog food.

While most participating families meet the state guidelines for poverty, the food pantry helps others – especially those who have been affected by the Coronavirus – in need, too. In addition, the pantry has a garden with fresh vegetables and a clothing closet, although that is not open right now. A warming center opens at the church the first week in January.

“I love it,” Gillespie said. “It’s a beautiful ministry. It’s very fulfilling.”

To learn how to donate or receive assistance, go to the church website at, call (248) 545-4664, ext. 2, or contact Gillespie at The ministry also is on the site

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