• 73°

Far away friends lend a hand as SAFB prepares to move into new location

A group of volunteers from Mt. Pleasant Michigan traveled 900 miles to Selma this week to help the Selma Area Food Bank (SAFB) move into their new space at Craig Field.

The group, The Extra Mile Initiative, consists of mostly Central Michigan University students who deploy themselves once a month to low-income areas of Michigan and help out non-profits with their work load – the groups journey to Selma is their first out of state venture

The Extra Mile was founded by Central Michigan University Counselling Professor Terry McGlasson.

McGlasson said he founded the independent service organization to challenge his graduate students to get out of their offices and into the community and understand the challenges people face every day.

“A college campus is sort of a bubble of privileged people,” he said.

The 11 students McGlasson brought to Selma, currently on break, raised all of their own funds to make the 900-mile journey to help out the food bank.

While in Selma, The Extra Mile Initiative plans to help the SAFB prep their new facility, and distribute food locally.

SAFB Executive Director Jeff Harrison said he was thrilled to have so many helping hands ready the new facility for use.

Harrison and McGlasson met over the summer while McGlasson was volunteering in Selma alone – The two then corresponded and planned the effort.

“They’re here to work, and by George, they’ve gone to work,” said Harrison. “It’s great to see someone step up and help us out.”

Harrison says the new building is a big upgrade from the SAFB’s current location on Oak Street, which they’ve been in since 1993.

“It’s a life changing experience to move from that location to here,” said Harrison. “It’ll make us a lot more efficient and give us a lot more opportunities to expand.”

The new building at Craig Field offers is more than twice the size of the SAFB’s current 7,500-square-foot building and offers amenities like a loading dock, which will save SAFB volunteers from having to unload trucks by hand.

Harrison said the SAFB’s new warehouse couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

“Before, there wasn’t enough food on the market and now, because of the trade embargo, there is an abundance of it,” said Harrison. “That’s great, but only if you have the means to store it. This new warehouse is going to open a lot of avenues for us.”