Stu Erickson volunteers at and helps fund a food pantry in Curtis, a small U.P. town, all in memory of his sister Marcy.
A year and a half ago, a few Curtis neighbors decided to start a pantry and soon realized that the best location was a building Stu owned.
“I said, ‘You can do it for $1 a year in rent.’”
Stu’s sister Marcy had always wanted to start a food pantry, but then she got sick. Last year, she passed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s.
“When Ethel came and suggested it, I was all over it, because it’s a need,” Stu said. “I asked if we could call it Marcy’s Pantry. It’s a really meaningful thing for me and my memory of my sister. She always liked to help people in any way that she could.”
Before her illness, Marcy owned a store in town where she met many of her neighbors who were in need.
“She touched a lot of people through friendships and through her store,” Stu recalled.
Through the pantry, Marcy’s memory has stayed alive.
“It makes me think about her every week,” Stu said.
Since the pantry opened almost two years ago, it’s been a huge success. Many from all walks of life have gotten involved, whether through volunteering or donating.
“This community is just standup and when asked to help other people. It makes it a very unique area. The citizens here truly care about each other and help each other out.”
In addition to renting out the building, Stu donated through his family foundation to get the pantry off the ground. He also purchased the pantry’s equipment. His current role is to source the food for the pantry each week. Because Curtis is so small, he usually drives half an hour to the nearest grocery store. Having biweekly deliveries from Feeding America West Michigan helps supplement this.
“I’ve been blessed in my life. I think I owe it to give back my time. I think it’s something everybody should do,” he said.