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Helping hungry families, Middlebury Food Pantry proud to receive Lozier Community Grant

Helping hungry families, Middlebury Food Pantry proud to receive Lozier Community Grant

In its second year, the employee-led Lozier Community Grant program supported 50 nonprofit organizations across the country. Recipients were selected by employee committees in all five Lozier locations.  Over the next couple of months, the recipient organizations’ stories of impact will be shared on LozierLink.

Pam Bingaman would be the first to tell you that she dreams of a day where her hard work isn’t a necessity.

“It’s been busy,” she said of her work as Executive Director of the Elkhart County’s Middlebury Food Pantry. “We used to be able to anticipate need and increases in attendance and things like that. All those holds are off these days. It still feels like we’re bouncing back from a pandemic, and so we’ve been really busy.” Bingaman said she’s been humbled by her 15 years running the facility, taking on poverty and empty kitchens across Michiana, delivering thousands of meals and helpful resources to families who just need a hand up.

“We’re a giving organization. We’re happy to be here and we’re happy to be members of this community and help our neighbors,” Bingaman said of the emotionally rewarding work. “I get teary-eyed, and I get goosebumps. It never gets old; it never gets old.”

“If you’ve ever had to be on the other side and receiving, it can be a very humbling, difficult and sometimes shameful thing,” Bingaman said of those people receiving support. “There’s people that don’t necessarily want you to know that they’re struggling right now. They’re not going to be whining about it in public. To them, it’s very private. As that (public understanding) becomes more and more believed and accepted, the community just steps up like crazy.”

From food drives, to volunteering, to encouragement and funding, Lozier’s Middlebury team has shown strong support over the years for the Food Pantry’s mission. For that, Bingaman said she’s humbled and honored, proudly celebrating being part of Lozier’s community of caring.

“You guys are amazing,” Bingaman said about Lozier’s supportive staff. “Thank you, I don’t really know how else to express the feelings that you’ve given up and the people that are struggling in our community.

“We tell them about how you care, and they’re able to believe that, because of the help that we’re able to provide with your help.” It’s help, like that from Lozier, that’s giving people the opportunities they need to survive and eventually thrive, changing lives for the better, no matter the circumstances.

“People are like icebergs. The only part you get to see is the little bitty part that sticks out the top of the water. You don’t get to see all of that dark, massive foundation that’s under the water holding the little bit up there,” Bingaman said. “It just takes a few minutes to put them at ease. We have no idea what people are going through, even as we see them on the street. So, whenever you have an opportunity to be kind, be kind.”