Thanks to the generosity of the White Lake area community, including customers of Wesco Conveniences stores in Whitehall and Montague, the White Lake Food Pantry will be able to serve struggling families through this coming August.

A community fundraising effort by the four Wesco stores in the community earned $8,600 which was donated to the food pantry.

“The community came through,” said Melissa Rendulic, manager of the Wesco on Colby Road, next to McDonald’s. “This was the best we’ve done for the food pantry. This was exciting.”

In the fundraiser in which store customers donated their change from purchases, the four stores raised $4,300, including a $1,000 Wesco corporate match per store.

Rendulic said $460 was raised by Wesco which provided a donation jar at the pumpkin roll in Montague last October.

In addition, the Edukators, a band formed by local educators, raised the balance from a recent benefit concert held at The Double JJ Resort. Mike Snell, a member of the band and food pantry liaison, took the proceeds and donated them to the Wesco fundraiser to make sure the company match offer was met.

The other Wesco stores involved in the fundraiser were the ones on Benston Road and downtown Whitehall (Colby), and the Montague store on Water Street.

Pastor Doug Ogden of Lebanon Lutheran Church in Whitehall where the White Lake Food Pantry is located, said cash donations are the best way to support the pantry because they can leverage the money to purchase discounted products. Ogden said the pantry can purchase products from Feeding America West Michigan for 25 cents on the dollar.

The pantry also gets discounted products from Country Dairy (39 gallons of milk a week), Save-A-Lot and Aldi’s.

The pantry also received 2,000 pounds of donated food from the Electric Forest Music Festival which held its annual event last June at Double JJ Resort in Rothbury. In addition, the festival donated leftover bottled water from last year’s event.

Ogden said the pantry feeds a breakfast to food recipients each Wednesday while they wait to receive their food. The recipients volunteer at the weekly distribution. The pantry is also providing lunches for the weekend to qualified students at the local schools. Ogden said about 15 students are receiving the free lunches.

The food pantry recipients live in the Montague, Whitehall and Holton Zip Codes. Some Spanish speaking Oceana County residents also come to the pantry because Ogden is conversive in Spanish. Food recipients are charged a $1 for a gallon of milk if they have the funds available.