At a meeting held two weeks ago the board of directors of the Emergency Care Network (ECN) of St. Joseph County decided it would begin to phase out operations. The ECN is a 501(c)(3) organization. It was incorporated in 1985, and assists the food pantries in Mendon, White Pigeon, Constantine, Three Rivers, Colon and Centreville.
On the board of directors are president – Margaret Shultz, vice-president – Gary Metz, treasurer – Pat Weiss and secretary – Paula Smith.
Shultz said the food pantries have become fairly well funded without the assistance of ECN and emphasized they would stay open, with no major changes.
“They are doing a remarkable job of being more self supporting, so we decided now would be a good job to dissolve the ECN,” she said.
Shultz said pantry site managers would seek 501(c)(3) status to be eligible for funds from United Way. She added the ECN recently deposited ample funds for pantries to receive food from the Food Bank of South Central Michigan in Battle Creek.
The ECN also owns and maintains the County Closet, located at 901 South Main Street in Three Rivers. The County Closet distributes free donated clothing and small household items. It has been in operation for 31 years, 14 of which have been at the current location. It was begun by Pat Weiss in 1980 in the basement of the First Congregational Church-UCC in Constantine before moving to to its current location.
The ECN is seeking either a buyer for the building, or perhaps would donate it to another nonprofit organization. Shultz said the ECN is hoping that another organization will take over the County Closet.
“We’re open to any and all ideas. The building has had some work done and it’s in pretty good shape,” Shultz said.
“We appreciate the support the community has given us over the years,” she said. “It is currently staffed by Delores Murray and several other volunteers, and I’m sure they would continue to work.”
Shultz said if interested in the building contact any board of director member, or call the County Closet and leave a message at (269) 279-6183, or (269) 435-9735. The County Closet is open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Source: Story and photo contributed by Angie Birdsall.