Battle Creek

Backpacks provisioned with food will help youngsters through the weekend

Backpacks filled with food items ensured that some Battle Creek students in need would not go without food over the weekend.

Those backpacks — 320 in all — were filled by members of the Cereal City Sunrise Rotary Club, says T.R. Shaw, a member of that Rotary Club and distributed to students in the Harper Creek School District.

Rotary Club also presented a check for $500 to Fred Lutzke, organizer of the “Love Thy Neighbor Ministries and Food Pantry” in Wattles Park.  The funds are part of a $1,000 grant for the project obtained through the Rotary Foundation and matched by the local club.

Lutzke, the former owner of the Wattles Park Pharmacy on East Michigan, uses the space formerly occupied by the pharmacy for his ministries, food pantry, and Bible study group. He has been a long-time member of the Harper Creek Optimist Club and has served the community through his volunteer work and was honored by the Rotary Club in 2017 with its Golden Trowel award for community service.

“We are honored to assist Love Thy Neighbor pantry with this grant and help the great work they are doing,” says Tim Lantinga, president of the Cereal City Sunrise Rotary Club.
Lutzke says the need in the Battle Creek area is great.

“On a weekly basis the pantry provides more than 300 backpacks of food to children in the school district. In 2018 it was 250 and the need continues to grow,” Lutzke says. “The food in each pack, which is mostly donated, costs about $2.75.”

The Rotary Club’s efforts to fill the backpack is in keeping with the organization’s mission.

Shaw says, “Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change -– across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

The Cereal City Sunrise Rotary Club meets weekly at 7 a.m. Thursday’s at Kellogg Community College with an emphasis on fellowship.  The group brings in speakers who are frequently experts in a wide variety of areas, and also hosts special meetings to engage in community service projects.

Shaw says guests are always welcome.

For more information or to join Rotary, visit the website or contact club membership Chairman, Carlos Fontana at (269) 924-8688 or

Read more articles by Jane Simons.

Jane Simons is a freelance reporter and writer with more than 20 years of experience and also is the owner of In So Many Words based in Battle Creek. She is the Project Editor for On the Ground Battle Creek.
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