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Agency Pick Up & Shopping Hours

Posted January 8th, 2014 in Uncategorized.

Mondays: 10 am – 4 pm (transactions must be completed by 3:45 pm)
Tuesdays thru Fridays: 9 am – 4 pm (transactions must be completed by 3:45 pm)

Closures due to weather will be listed on by 7:15 am, under Feeding America West Michigan

Tip & Tricks for Online Ordering: Edition 1

Posted April 10th, 2014 in Tips & Tricks for Online Ordering.

If you’re just getting started with our new online ordering system, Primarius Web Window (PWW), we think you’ll find that a lot of it is very intuitive. For some of the more obscure areas, though, we thought you might want some help discovering the answers, so we’re posting articles like this one. Today’s edition explains:

1) How to start an order – find out where the click-able “order entry” text is hidden in plain sight.
2) How to view all products on a single screen – it can take a little while to load a new page, so we’ll teach you to just change pages once.
3) How to identify purchased product – our conventions are changing, but PWW makes it even easier to see (or even exclude) purchased product.

Read more »

PWW training at Comstock Park

Posted April 8th, 2014 in Uncategorized.

Looking for the small group trainings we promised in the PWW rollout announcement?  Elianna will be leading them at our Comstock Park warehouse every morning just before we open for agency order pick up:
Wednesday April 9 – 8:50 AM
Thursday April 10 – 8:50 AM
Friday April 11 – 8:50 AM

Monday April 14 – 9:50 AM
Tuesday April 15 – 8:50 AM
Wednesday April 16 – 8:50 AM
Thursday April 17 – 8:50 AM
Friday April 18 – 8:50 AM

Need a different time? Email with your request, and she’ll let you know if she can add it to the schedule.

Attention Agencies Currently Receiving USDA Products:

Posted April 2nd, 2014 in Uncategorized.

REVISED April 3 with more non-pantry information

As of June 1, 2014 you will be required to submit monthly reporting on the number of households served in order to continue receiving USDA commodities.  This reporting is a Federal requirement which is being imposed on all Michigan agencies distributing USDA commodities.  However, this change represents just a small step up from the record-keeping most of you are doing already:

Pantries: the USDA distribution form you use collects client signatures, each of which stands for one household.  All you will have to do is add up the number of households (signatures) and report that number to us.

We will be implementing a reporting system as part of the new Primarius Web Window (PWW) online ordering system.  We want this process to be very easy for you, so we will keep our requirements as streamlined as possible.  Right now, we expect to ask pantries for the number of households (as described above).

Similarly, we will ask other programs for the number of meals served, which means those program types which are exempt from the USDA signature form will still need to keep a tally of the number of services provided. Many of you have been asking what this means for your program type; our best guess of what each of those processes will look like is outlined below:

Backpack programs: We are most likely to equate each backpack with one household served.  You will probably take your roster (number of backpacks provided per distribution date) and multiply it by the number of distributions held during the month. There’s a possibility we will ask you instead to multiply that number by a standard conversion factor for number of meals per backpack.

Group homes: We expect to look for a total count of meals served.  You will probably take your roster (number of beds) and multiply it by the number of times meals are served during the month.

Soup kitchens: We expect to look for a total count of meals served.  You can accomplish this by keeping a simple tally at the door, counting plates, etc.

Shelters: We expect to look for a total count of meals served.  You will probably take your roster (number of beds) and multiply it by the number of times meals are served during the month.

Mobile food pantries: You’re not set up for the online ordering system now, because we haven’t included mobiles in the rollout.  Our options are to add mobiles with USDA to that system, or set up a parallel data collection plan; we will start discussing which course to follow the week of April 21.  Whichever system we decide to use, if you continue to accept USDA, we would have you report monthly – “0 households” in the months you don’t host a truck, and however many households you serve on the months that you do.

The final processes are subject to change as we learn more about our own reporting requirements and data collecting capabilities. We will keep you updated as this project progresses. Here is our expected timeline:

May 1: Data collection tool will be live on PWW; providing number of households or meals for April 1-30 will be encouraged but not required.

June 1: Providing number of households or meals for May 1-31 will be required. (To be repeated monthly thereafter.)

We would prefer that you hold your questions until May 1 or the next update, whichever comes first, as that is when we will have more information ourselves.

If you need to talk to us immediately about this new process, please follow the contact order provided with the general PWW rollout.

Time to Try PWW – Our New Online Ordering System

Posted March 26th, 2014 in Uncategorized.

As you may have seen in a recent email from Elianna or Teresa, it is time for all of our traditional agency accounts (food pantries, soup kitchens, group homes, etc. – but NOT mobile pantries) to transition to our upgraded online ordering system, Primarius Web Window (abbreviated PWW).

Here are some of the advantages of the new system:

  • Connects to live data which means that the available quantities are current; each time you select a quantity of product it is immediately reserved in our inventory for you (you may have noticed that under the old POL system, you were not always getting all your product and the pick lists would be marked “n/a” for “not available”. That’s because there was a 45 minute to 1 hour lag between when you would place your order and when the order reached our internal inventory system.  The new system completely eliminates that lag which means we should not have that problem any more).
  • Able to print a shopping list.
  • Able to place your order on line.
  • Able to check on orders, statements, invoices, and grants.  On many of the tables (such as Statements, Invoices, Orders) double left clicking on the line will produce a new window with more details.
  • Some of the Agency information will also be displayed graphically.
  • Able to select a unique time for product pick up  (we have set up multiple locations for each agency pick up door – or “locations” for the warehouses where agencies share a door – so there will be a certain number of timeslots available for each time interval that get reserved in real time just like the product on the food list. There are 6 doors in Comstock Park, 1 in Cadillac, 2 “spots” in Ishpeming, and 3 “spots” each in Benton Harbor and Sault Ste. Marie. We will be turning off the old POL system in mid-April, so you should begin treating your pick up times like appointments now.  Once everyone is reserving their pick up time through PWW, you can count on priority consideration when you select your pick up time.)

This system is also designed to enable unique user names and passwords for each agency representative, though that is where our software provider’s additional charges come into play.  We are planning to start most agencies off with only one username and password, and we are reserving the right to pass a fee along to agencies that would like additional usernames and passwords.

To begin, we have set most agencies’ log in information with the following variables:

Agency Reference: this is your five-digit agency number
Username: for most agencies, this is your agency number again
Password: for most agencies, this is the same as your current password for the POL.

PLEASE NOTE: Many UP agencies have different username and password combinations. EUP agencies should have received an email with their username and password information.  Any CUP agencies who discussed their arrangements with Dave should refer to the results of that conversation (though in some instances, that means the password is the same as the username; for security purposes, we would recommend changing the password to something that would be more difficult to guess).

There are several options for training:

1) Just jump right in! Click on the PWW tab to the left, and start entering your log in information.

2) Get a quick walkthrough on the basics by reading our one-page handout at

3) Get more in depth instructions, with pictures of what you’ll see online by reading the manual from the software provider at

4) Attend an in-person training at our Comstock Park warehouse. Training times are listed here.

We’re planning to add video to this list, too – when it’s ready, we’ll post it here as well.

If you’ve already tried options 2 and 3, can’t make it to a training, and just can’t seem to get the system to work, please use the following contact options:

Comstock Park agencies:

Mondays: Nancy Ullrey – 616-389-6358
Tuesdays: Elianna Bootzin – 616-389-6349
Wednesdays: Nancy Watson – 616-432-6962
Thursdays: Jude Smith – 616-389-6362
Fridays: Elianna Bootzin – 616-389-6349

Benton Harbor agencies:

Start by contacting your Branch Manager, Rich Glista – 269-926-2646.
If he’s not available, or you’ve tried unsuccessfully to solve the issue together, use the Comstock Park contacts above.

NW & UP agencies:

Start by contacting your Branch Manager:
Cadillac – Lorrie Sluiter – 231-779-0056
Ishpeming – Dave Mason – 906-485-4988
Sault Ste. Marie – LeeAnn Izzard – 906-632-0348

If the Branch manager is unavailable, or you’ve tried unsuccessfully to resolve the issue together, get in touch with your Agency Services Representatives,
Don Swick,, 616-432-6967, or
Stefanie Greene,, 616-432-6968


Also: as we roll out this new system, we are interested in running one or more articles on this site with tips and tricks to help you use the new system better.  If you’d like to contribute on either of those topics (whether it’s because you’ve gotten stumped or you’ve found a neat solution), please write to with your comments.

Identifying Purchased Products

Posted March 20th, 2014 in Uncategorized.

Please be aware that some of our purchased products are temporarily being listed with product references that start with a 7, rather than a 6.  If you do not want to incur the purchased costs, look at the product category and/or the case price (and/or try out PWW’s filter mechanism – click the star on “category”, select which categories you do want to see, then click “apply”).