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St. Vincent de Paul services available during outbreak

A premade box of food packaged by volunteers from St. Vincent de Paul in Marquette is pictured. St. Vincent de Paul is encouraging anyone who needs food assistance to stop by its financial aid office from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a proof of Marquette residence and identification. (Photo courtesy of Jacy Williams)

MARQUETTE — St. Vincent de Paul locations in Marquette County remain open to provide those in need with prepared boxes of food while practicing social distancing measures with its volunteers and staff.

In Marquette, St. Vincent de Paul is open 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Gwinn location’s hours are 1 to 3 p.m. Monday and Friday. Though the store is closed, SVDP Pantry Chairman Jacy Williams said that the organization is still willing to help those who need assistance and people are encouraged to sign up if they need help.

“We want to help the people who are hungry,” Williams said. “If they don’t have income because they’ve been laid off, their unemployment is less than what they were making on their salary or they haven’t collected unemployment yet, it’s hard for them to buy food. They need to also be paying rent and utilities so if we can help with food, that will help.”

Over the past two weeks, Williams said the Marquette food pantry has seen 20 new clients so far. The financial aid office is still open and ready to approve new clients. All they need is identification and proof of local residence, Williams said.

The boxes of food are pre-made and consist of essential perishables such as bread, butter and eggs and nonperishables including cereal, canned goods and rice.

Premade boxes of food packaged by volunteers from St. Vincent de Paul in Marquette are pictured. St. Vincent de Paul is still open to help families with food assistance during this time. (Photo courtesy of Jacy Williams)

Though the option to pick and choose has been eliminated for the time being to follow precautions for COVID-19, people are still getting the same amount of food and sometimes more than they’d usually pick out, Williams said.

Families with school-aged children will be able to add extra items into their box such as Spaghetti-Os.

Currently, the SVDP Marquette Food Pantry is suggesting the public donate money rather than bring in food because food donations expose more people to handling goods and isn’t in line with appropriate COVID-19 precautions, she said. Montary donations in the form of checks allow for SVDP to buy what it needs from local grocery stores.

With five volunteers daily, a work week at SVDP in Marquette consists of 15 volunteers weekly and it’s important to keeping each other’s distance, she added.

“We keep a distance at the registration desk so everything we have done has maintained the 6-foot minimum social distancing,” Williams said. “… We’re basically all volunteer based; a lot of our volunteers are not only over 60, most of them are over 70 so we’re trying to keep the social distancing and protect everybody on both sides.”

This situation is tough for everybody, but SVDP is there to lend a hand, she said.

“Our heart goes out to the people that are hurting, it really does. We will do what we can to help them but we can’t help them if we don’t know,” she said.

To donate money, write a check out to SVDP with “pantry” written on it and mail it to 2119 Presque Isle Ave. Marquette, Michigan 49855.

Jackie Jahfetson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is

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