They say the best gifts come in small boxes. Michelle White would beg to differ.
As the co-founder of 5Loaves2Fish Northern Michigan, Michelle couldn’t contain her excitement on a recent snowy morning when a delivery truck rolled up to the Leland Community United Methodist Church to drop off a gift in a decidely not-small box. It was a nearly new walk-in cooler, and it was something Michelle had been praying for.
“Ask, believe it has already been given, receive.” This was the quote Michelle’s husband and 5L2F co-founder, Bill White, posted on 5L2F’s Facebook page later that day, along with the nearly miraculous story of how the donation came to fruition. “For months we have been busting at the refrigerator seams and praying for solutions,” Michelle shares. “And out of the blue, a solution appeared.”
She explains that Bill volunteers at Traverse City’s Salvation Army on ‘Code Blue’ days when shelters are open during the day due to the extreme cold. While there one day, he mentioned 5L2F’s recent growth and food storage needs, and he was given a tip on a cooler. He was encouraged to contact Taylor Moore at Goodwill’s Food Rescue of Northern Michigan, who shared with Bill that Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars had just donated a walk-in cooler. Taylor then asked, “Would you like it?” To which Bill gratefully responded, “Yes! Yes, please!”
This wasn’t the first time that Fustini’s has made meaningful donations to support those struggling with food and housing insecurities. Karen Chemello, manager of the Traverse City store, credits the generosity of Fustini’s owner Jim Milligan for instilling a philosophy of giving through his business. She explains that their store moved away from the ‘grab and go’ type of food offerings it provided pre-pandemic, and so the nearly new cooler was no longer needed. “We decided it was best to just give it a new home,” Karen says. Her go-to for donations is Taylor at Food Rescue because “he always knows who in the community has the most needs. We are super happy that 5Loaves2Fish is able to use it.”
And use it they will. “This is a HUGE blessing,” Michelle shares. “This gives us the ability to receive and store more food so we can make more meals and feed more people. We are incredibly grateful for this. Thank you, thank you to God for bringing this all together and for all those who follow Christ’s direction to “do unto others as you would have them do for you.”