The New Hope Food Pantry was in tough shape before its founder Mike Groeper died on Christmas Eve, but his death may have doomed the non-profit that has helped an estimated 6,000 families since it was started in 1990.

For the 25 years, the food pantry has struggled along, helping as best they could with what they had.

Mike and Mary Groeper, both ministers, started the food pantry together.

Nine years ago Mary died, leaving Mike to carry on their work with the help of volunteers.

Mike, who’s job as a carpenter helped keep the food pantry afloat, made it his mission to keep things going.

Now, his family and loyal volunteers are accepting that same mission.

The first step will be to navigate the copious records the Groeper’s kept on the organization, identify their debts and deal with them.

The Groeper’s nephew, Derrick Hellebusch, is currently spearheading this effort, but he only has so much time before he is called back to the farm he works on in another state.

Behind on utilities and rent, the food pantry is in dire straits Hellebusch said.

Without question, finances are his number one concern followed by lining up more sources of food and attracting more volunteers.

While all monetary donations are welcome, they really would like someone to commit to continuing donations that will help provide a more stable monthly income to help offset recurring financial responsibilities.

Once Hellebusch can sort out the specifics of what needs to happen to keep the doors open, he already has someone willing to run the pantry’s day to day operations.

The pantry has started a Gofundme page to help with donations. It has raised $705 in the last month.