Allendale woman keeps free pantry on front porch to help out neighbors

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ALLENDALE, Mich. -- Katie Hughes is doing her part to make sure her neighbors don't go hungry.

Hughes started up a 24/7 free pantry on the front porch of her home, something she says was missing in her community. Since then, people have come and gone as they please, taking what they need as others donate what they don't need.

"There's a lot of diapers and wipes," said Hughes, "then a lot of canned goods, beans and rice."

For the past five months, Hughes has stocked the shelves of two pantries, not for herself or her family but for anyone who needs it.

"God was calling me to do a food pantry last summer," said Hughes. "I really felt that in my heart."

Hughes followed that feeling, and in November she set up two pantries on the front porch of her home at the corner of 52nd Avenue and Jordan Street in Allendale. Since then, she has noticed a steady flow of visitors not only taking items but giving them as well.

"I would come home to items on my porch to put in the pantry," said Hughes. "It grew to where I needed another cabinet. It gets utilized most every week. I notice people here and notice things gone."

It's a service that wouldn't be possible without the help of her neighbors.

"I financially cannot stock the cupboard myself," said Hughes. "I did initially, and then asked people if they would just bring by and donate any items as needed, one or two or three items, but the community has really rallied and this thing has been full."

The pantry is full of things like food, clothes, household items, toiletries and a box for prayers.

"I'll have people knock on the door," said Hughes. "I had someone a few weeks ago, and she came and knocked on the door, and she just needed to talk a little bit and tell me her story. She left a prayer request for me, so that way I can keep her on my prayer list to continue to pray for her needs. She also actually left some things as well as take."

Hughes says the pantry is something she credits to her faith.

"I'm not doing it for me or for any kind of praise or anything," said Hughes. "I'm doing it for the glory of God. I'm being his servant, and that's all I can say to people that try to praise me. It's not me, it's all God."

Hughes says she's also received some cash donations which she has used to go buy some specialty items or anything they're running low on.

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