PLYMOUTH – Caring Cupboards, the mini food pantries fashioned out of repurposed newspaper vending boxes, are in place in both Plymouth and Bourbon – and another is expected in Starke County, according to organizers.
Plymouth’s location is on the south side of the Plymouth Fire Department, 111 N. Center St., while Bourbon’s is near the Bourbon Police Department and close to The Standard ice cream shop, 210 N. Main St.
Donations of food and items are being actively solicited.
“I can always take donated items like pet food, cleaning wipes, laundry detergent and personal hygiene items, like shampoo and body wash,” said Rebecca Palmer, who is spearheading the effort dubbed Caring Cupboards, “and powdered food items for the colder months like potatoes, mac and cheese (and) noodles.”
Palmer said donations can be dropped off during business hours during the week at WTCA, 112 W. Washington St., 98.3 The Max, 215 N. Michigan St., and the Pilot News, 213 N. Michigan.
On Saturdays, donations can be taken to P&N Pawn Shop, 1842 W. Jefferson St. Or donors can reach out to Palmer via Facebook, she said.
Palmer said a Caring Cupboards box should be in place in Knox in about a week or two.
In late July, the Plymouth Board of Works approved Plymouth resident Palmer’s request to place a pair of newspaper vending boxes in town. One box would be at the police department while the second would be located at the fire department.
Both boxes would be stuffed with non-perishable food items, cleaning products and items for pets. The newspaper boxes are accessible 24 hours per day. The items are free. In the winter, canned goods will be swapped out with powdered food items.
Doug Feece, owner of Burt’s Body Shop, 1604 W. Jefferson St., painted the Plymouth Fire Department Caring Cupboard for free.
“When I left here (in July), I haven’t stopped working,” she told the board of works in September. “It’s been amazing. It’s been exciting. (The boxes) will be done well and right. The community has really stepped up.
“I’m extremely excited,” she continued, “because we in Plymouth have started this wave.”
The Caring Cupboards Community Outreach Program and is based on Brownsburg’s Blessings in a Box.
By placing the boxes at the police and fire stations, organizers hope it will deter vandalism. Palmer, who lives near downtown, previously said she’ll also be regularly checking the boxes for damage.
“Really, I’m targeting the working poor – I’ve been there,” Palmer told the board in July. “Sometimes you just need something to get you through the night or until your next paycheck.”
Both police Chief Dave Bacon and fire Chief Rod Miller previously signed-off on placing the boxes outside their respective headquarters.
Palmer said Caring Cupboards has been in the works for about a year locally.