GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — As Cheryl Youngquist busily makes her way around Love in Action, three different people, at three different times, with three different ties to the food pantry, all said the same thing, “she’s the best.”

One was a volunteer, the other from another food pantry and the third was a co-worker, but it doesn’t take too long to realize why each of them feels the way they do about Youngquist.

“If we all do the piece we can, we can make sure no one goes hungry,” Youngquist said.

She’s been with the ministry Love in Action for the last four years. Before that, she was a volunteer and a teacher to her homeschooled children. Now she has taken the reigns as director of operations for a group that helps keep 10 Tri-Cities pantry’s stocked and open — feeding thousands of people each month.

“I love being part of the community and seeing all the different pieces of community,” Youngquist said. “In this pantry alone, in a month right now, we are giving over 250 families in our community a week’s worth of groceries.”

Love in Action allows their partnering pantries to request why items they need. Volunteers then help compile the orders of canned goods, fresh food and meats and get them ready to pick up to be brought back to one of the neighboring cities.

“We have a cycle of two or three pantries picking up each day,” Youngquist said. “A community working together is huge for the solution. We know that for about every $10 donated, about $100 of food is given. That’s because we have groups in our community, churches in our community, that reach out and say, ‘what do you need?’ And we keep a running list of what we’re low on and when I can’t purchase it.”

The donations for those low items somehow find their way in. Or Love in Action can lean on its partner Feeding America West Michigan to help fill any gaps they’re running into.

“Feeding America is the supplier of all of our food trucks. So they’re the one that helps us get fresh produce into the community,” Youngquist said they have around 24 food trucks at a church nearby each year. “And it’s not just the food truck. It’s also the ability to bring things in-house. So some of the items that you see on our shelves here are from Feeding America.”

“We can’t do every piece of the puzzle,e but when you partner in community together and share the pieces of the puzzle, the ability to do all the things we do works throughout our whole community.”

That’s why as Grand Haven High School competes in week seven of the Football Frenzy Food Drive their food will not only be benefitting Love in Action’s pantry, Youngquist said she felt compelled to help fill the need of the two Bucs pantries that operate out of the high school and Central High.

“As a person in this community, I knew of their pantry and when I knew that we were coming to Grand Haven High School, I couldn’t come there, receive food and not make sure that they had what they needed also,” YoungQuist said. “They had some Facebook post out saying they needed food. So I reached out and were working together on this one.”

If the Bucs can donate more than 5,565 pounds, they will take the top spot from Kenowa Hills with two weeks remaining to the school food drive. And if they can donate more than 197 pounds, they will help this year’s Frenzy Food Drive beat last year’s season total. But whatever the final amount ends up being, Youngquist knows that it’s another step forward in the fight against food security, together — leading with the community.

“If we all do the piece we can, we can make sure no one goes hungry,” Youngquist said.

Grand Haven students donated 768 pounds of food on Friday. All of the donated food was supposed to go to Love in Action, however, they said they are going to split the donations with Grand Haven High School’s pantries.