Raffle to benefit First Place Food Pantry


TROY — First Place Food Pantry has partnered with Harris Jeweler to raise funds for the busy holiday season, selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a half-carat diamond necklace valued at approximately $2,000.

“We are limiting it to 400 tickets,” First Place Food Pantry Board Chair Sharon Buse said. “The tickets are a little bit higher, but we want people to feel like they have a pretty good chance of winning.”

Raffle tickets are $25 each or five for $100, and can be purchased online at https://bit.ly/FPHolidayRaffle or by calling 937-470-4329 or emailing [email protected] for paper tickets. Ticket sales will end at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15, or earlier if 400 tickets are sold.

“Harris Jeweler is always very supportive of our mission,” Buse said. “I think this will be the third time they’ve done that.”

Proceeds from the necklace raffle will benefit the First Place Food Pantry, located at 1100 Wayne Street in the Stouder Hospital Building. The food pantry serves residents of Miami County, providing food and personal care items for those facing food insecurity.

“This is our biggest year ever,” Buse said. “Through the end of October, we had handed out 400,000 pounds of food.”

“When you crunch the numbers, if you’re a single parent with two kids making $20 per hour and you start adding it all up; with the way inflation’s been, there’s not enough to stretch,” she said.

The food pantry was started 21 years ago, as an outreach of Troy First united Methodist Church.

“It started in the pastor’s closet, with just a little bit of canned goods,” Buse said. “Then it expanded.”

“After a lot of thought and prayer, in 2014 it became a fee-standing 501C3,” she said.

The food pantry is open from1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday nights. The pantry is also open from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday mornings. A photo ID and a piece of mail with a current Miami County address are required to receive services.

“We never send them away without something,” Buse said.

In addition to food donations, the food pantry is also currently seeking volunteers to help out during the busy holiday season.

“We get groups who come and go,” Buse said. “We have volunteers who work when the pantry’s not open, we have volunteers who help with delivery and gleaning.”

The pantry is also looking to expand from its current location.

“It’s the Emergency Department, so it’s really convenient for the drive-through,” Buse said. “We have a little over 4,000 square feet there, but we have 28 huge refrigerators and freezers.”

“There’s not enough room in that location for us to go back to the choice model, so we’re still operating drive-through and we’re doing some limited delivery services now as well, for people who just can’t drive,” she said. “We were trying to develop a nest egg so we could possibly build or purchase a location that better fit our needs and what we’re doing, but we’ve had to tap that this year.”

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