Remembering Mr. CUMAC

Michael DeVore, a vital part of the CUMAC family for over 20 years, passed away on Sunday, October 25, 2015. Mike first came to CUMAC as a client, when we were a simple pantry run out of a defunct church on 21st Avenue. Clarence Bugg, the pantry manager at the time, invited Michael to begin volunteering. Michael started out sporadically, but increased his visits when CUMAC was split between Madison Park Epworth and Paterson Avenue United Methodist Churches. In fact for the last 2 years we were at the churches, Michael was at CUMAC almost every single day helping out wherever needed – unloading vehicles, sorting food, and helping clients with their packages. 

His consistency and dedication to CUMAC were rewarded when we purchased our current facility in 1999 and needed to hire more staff. Our Executive Director Rev. Pat Bruger put Clarence in charge of the warehouse and hired Michael as the Referral Office Manager. In the 15 years we have been in this building the tasks of Michael’s job have evolved, but the primary function remained to make sure our hungry neighbors received the food they needed. And Michael took quiet pride in just that. 

Michael was never a man of many words, but you somehow always knew where he stood on things, and at CUMAC that was solidly on the side of meeting our clients’ needs. If a mother came in with an infant, and the pantry wasn’t stocked with the appropriate food or diapers, Michael would march out into the warehouse to find them himself. Despite his seemingly gruff exterior, it was obvious to those who knew him that Michael had a huge heart, and a particular soft spot for kids in the pantry. He became known as “Mr. CUMAC” to many children who accompanied their parents to pick-up food. And when Michael fell ill, many of our clients asked about him on a regular basis – a testament to the impact he had on their lives. 

CUMAC will miss our dear friend Michael, immensely. We are planning a community memorial service at CUMAC on Friday, November 20th at 3pm.  All are welcome to come celebrate Mike’s life. To honor his love of cooking and eating, we will share a potluck meal following some story sharing.