18 hours ago
Helping Hands has grapes, cucumbers, sweet potatoes, salad kits, sweet corn, bread, and bananas (for banana bread) available in front of our pantry. Available to anyone. Help yourself! ... See MoreSee Less
4 days ago
Unfortunately we have several volunteers out sick today, so we will be closed all of today. We will reopen tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10am. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope our volunteers feel better. ... See MoreSee Less
6 days ago
A community Easter dinner is available at the First Congregational Church. First Congregational United Church of Christ of Charlotte, Michigan ... See MoreSee Less
Our new Executive Director, Amanda Thompson, knows what it's like to be a client, too. Read her story below as published in the County Journal.
New Helping Hands Director Knows the Food Pantry from Every Angle
When clients come to Helping Hands Food Pantry in need of food, Executive Director Amanda Thompson doesn’t have to imagine how they might feel. She knows. She has been there.
Thompson’s journey with Helping Hands began when she walked into the pantry in November 2012 to request assistance—an experience she describes as humbling.
“I’ve been homeless, and I’ve been hungry,” Thompson recalls. “It’s a miserable feeling to have to ask for help.”
This personal experience of being on the receiving end of aid gives Thompson an extra degree of empathy with the people she serves. Her giftedness in ministering compassionately to people in need led the Helping Hands Board to unanimously appoint her as the food pantry’s new executive director in June of 2020.
Thompson is stepping into the shoes of Phil Grimwood, who served as executive director for 10 years and continues as part-time codirector for the food pantry.
Born and raised in Charlotte, Thompson attended Michigan State University, where her passion for serving others led her to earn a bachelor’s degree in family community services. “I went to school for nursing and changed my major to social work, though I didn’t think I would ever run a food pantry,” she says with a smile.
After college, Thompson worked in a variety of jobs: lifeguard, first responder, childcare leader, nursing assistant for the developmentally disabled, and caregiver for dementia and hospice patients. The common thread woven through her career was the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.
A crisis in her personal life landed her at Helping Hands Food Pantry as a client. A few months later, she was invited to volunteer. Her involvement grew until in 2018 Grimwood began mentoring Thompson to take on the position of executive director.
The job is tailor-made for her training, her experience, and her generous heart for uplifting people in need.
“I love the fact that each day is different,” Thompson says. “I’m not just sitting behind a desk.” On any given day, her activities might range from unloading a truckload of groceries, to writing donor thank-you letters, to praying with a client. In her years of volunteering, she has served in every role in the pantry, giving her practical insights as she manages the organization’s 38 volunteers and enabling her to fill in easily where needed.
As a faith-based ministry, Helping Hands seeks to fulfill the words of Jesus in John 15:17: “This is my command: Love each other.” For Thompson, leading Helping Hands Food Pantry is much more than a job—it is her purpose.
Located at 621 Jefferson St. in Charlotte, Helping Hands distributed more than 729,000 pounds of food (600,000 meals) and personal care items to low-income Eaton County residents last year. Learn more about Helping Hands Food Pantry and contribute at helpinghandsfoodpantry.org, or visit the Helping Hands Facebook page. ... See MoreSee Less
As of Friday morning, we now have excess Snow Peas, Eggplant, Cucumbers, Avacado's, Green Peppers and Broccoli on the porch at Helping Hands, free to whoever would like some. Bags are out there so help yourselves to however much you can use. Blessings! ... See MoreSee Less