By Christine Sass
Having grown up in the Philippines, Carmela Burns remembers occasionally going to bed hungry. The memories remained long after she came to the United States as a young girl of thirteen. Little did she know that hardship would one day be the inspiration for the Marysville SOS Food Pantry.
The idea for the pantry developed in December of 2008 when Carmela became involved in a food give away hosted by local Marysville churches. The success of this event gave her the idea to approach her church, along with other churches in Marysville, to begin a monthly food give away. This proved to be very successful and demonstrated that the need was great in the community. She wanted to not only feed the hungry but give people hope. Yet she felt compelled to do more.
Carmela began extensive research into the steps necessary to open an actual food pantry. She had so many questions of God and He provided the answers. She learned about such things as obtaining the various licenses needed, purchasing the SOS name, getting permits from the City of Marysville, and tax-exempt status.
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The SOS Food Pantry opened in 2011 on Huron Boulevard. It quickly outgrew that facility and moved to the current location at 2929 Gratiot Boulevard, Suite B (Marysville Care Care) where it has been for the past nine years.
Carmela praises God for the success of the pantry and feels blessed to have an extremely dedicated group of volunteers. She believes each one brings their own unique talents to the job. She is inspired by the retirees that give of their time to make the pantry a success and in turn the pantry gives them a purpose and the opportunity to continue to be a vital member of the community. She is also impressed with the young people that volunteer, who are learning the importance of giving back and the value of being around older folks who have the wisdom of lives lived.
The work of the pantry extends beyond its four walls. They sponsor a Christmas dinner; Thanksgiving turkey give away; senior citizen brown bag lunch; assist other pantries in getting established; helps various clubs such as Youth for Christ; and provides job training for special needs individuals.
The Pantry hours of operation are: Tuesdays 9am-2pm; Wednesdays 1pm-4:30pm and Thursday 10am-3pm. If possible, please call 810-364-6333 to make an appointment. Also call if you would like information on making a donation or volunteering. Find them on Facebook at SOS Marysville Food Pantry.
Carmela is a firm believer in listening to what God wants us to accomplish with our lives. As far as what the future holds, she trusts in whatever direction He leads her.