Four local companies go head-to-head to win United Way “Christmas in June” challenge
Indiana Michigan Power, an AEP Company; Gast Manufacturing; Spectrum Health Lakeland; and Whirlpool Corporation compete to out-collect each other in food drive for local pantries.
United Way of Southwest Michigan’s annual “Christmas in June” food drive for local pantries has kicked off, and four area companies—Indiana Michigan Power, an AEP Company; Gast Manufacturing; Spectrum Health Lakeland; and Whirlpool Corporation have accepted a challenge to collect the most items by June 12.
Every year, food pantries across Southwest Michigan are fully stocked in the winter months thanks to generous holiday donations—but when summer comes, donations drop dramatically and pantry shelves become sparse. This can leave low-income, hard-working families with limited options during this time of year. So, for the third year in a row, United Way of Southwest Michigan asks local businesses and community members to participate in our Christmas in June event to stock local food pantries with items to get them through the warmer months.
“Addressing food insecurity is year-round work,” said Charlotte Becker, Director of Annual Campaign at United Way of Southwest Michigan. “This event is a great opportunity for everyone to make a big difference in the everyday lives of people in need. We are thrilled that Whirlpool, AEP, Spectrum, and Gast are competing to take our impact on the community to new levels.”
Scott Kerns, President of Gast Manufacturing, said: “One of our core values at Gast is heritage. Over the past 100 years we have built this heritage in our local community and we have always strived to give back to it. Now we lay down a challenge to Whirlpool, AEP, and Spectrum to see who can match up to Gast for the Christmas in June food drive challenge. In the end, the real winner will be our community, so we all may continue to build a great heritage in our area. Let the games begin!”
“Helping people in need is who we are at Indiana Michigan Power,” said Toby Thomas, Indiana Michigan Power President and COO. “The United Way of Southwest Michigan’s Christmas in June event speaks to the need to help our neighbors each and every day because we know food donations historically decline in the summer months. We want to make sure local families across Southwest Michigan can still go to food pantries this summer and see shelves stocked. To help boost the amount of help and food goods available, our employees are challenging Whirlpool, Gast, and Spectrum this year to see who can raise more. We know they will put up a good fight, but we will power through to victory and in the end those in need will win.”
“We’re proud to support the Christmas in June program and United Way of Southwest Michigan,” said Spectrum Health Lakeland President Loren B. Hamel, M.D. “Taking great care of our community is what we do each and every day, and we believe that by donating to local pantries we can fight hunger and help promote health for families in need.”
“We are invested in our community and in the United Way,” said Whirlpool Corporation Chairman and CEO Marc Bitzer. “If creating a friendly competition between AEP, Spectrum, Gast, and Whirlpool brings visibility to the needs of local food shelters, then it’s game time. When our community wins, we all win.”
Last June, 51 organizations collected more than 20,000 items for 33 food pantries in Berrien & Cass counties.
Christmas in June is part of a worldwide United Way “Day of Action” effort, held in June, during which tens of thousands of people across the globe volunteer with local United Ways to fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.
Join us in bringing some cheer to our local pantries again this June!
To sign up your organization to collect items, donate to your local pantry, or volunteer to help us sort and count items, visit uwsm.org/christmas-in-june.
The main drop sites for participating companies on JUNE 12 ONLY are:
First Church of God, 2627 Niles Ave., St. Joseph
Berrien Co. Youth Fairgrounds Youth Memorial Building, 9122 US HWY 31, Berrien Springs
For community members looking to get involved, drop off items ANY TIME BEFORE JUNE 12 at:
United Federal Credit Union –
2819 S. State St., St. Joseph
724 East Napier Ave., Benton Harbor
5611 Cleveland Ave., Stevensville
9097 US 31, Berrien Springs
123 Sycamore St., Niles
2100 S. 11th St., Niles
808 E. Front St., Buchanan
Greater Niles Community Federal Credit Union –
507 E. Main St., Niles
1050 E. State St., Cassopolis
68925 M-62, Suite A, Edwardsburg
Local pantries receiving donations from Christmas in June:
Benton Harbor Street Ministry, Benton Harbor
Catholic Community Center, Benton Harbor
Emergency Shelter Services, Benton Harbor
Fairplain Presbyterian Church, Benton Harbor
First Church of God Food Co-op, Benton Harbor
First Presbyterian Church, Benton Harbor
The Avenue/Harbor House Day Services, Benton Harbor
Seventh Day Adventist, Benton Harbor
SMCAA, Benton Harbor
St. Augustine of Canterbury, Benton Harbor
The Salvation Army, Benton Harbor
Neighbor to Neighbor, Berrien Springs
United Methodist Church, Berrien Springs
Woodland Shores Baptist Church, Bridgman
Faith Victory Church, Buchanan
Red Bud Ministry, Buchanan
Helping Hands of Cass County, Cassopolis
Coloma United Methodist Church, Coloma
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Dowagiac
Action Ministries, Dowagiac
First Christian Church, Dowagiac
Our Lady of the Lake, Edwardsburg
Marcellus United Methodist Church, Marcellus
Christian Service Center, Niles
First Presbyterian Church, Niles
Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, Niles
Salvation Army, Niles
First Apostolic Church, Sawyer
Blue Roof Church, St. Joseph
Road to Hope, St. Joseph
Seventh Day Adventist, St. Joseph
Harbor Country Emergency Food Pantry, Three Oaks
Watervliet Free Methodist Church, Watervliet
The Avenue/Cora Lamping Center, Benton Harbor
ABOUT UNITED WAY
United Way of Southwest Michigan fights for the Health, Education and Financial Stability of every person in every community. We have the influence and relationships to make sustainable change a reality. By harnessing resources from corporate, nonprofit and public partners, we provide immediate assistance to our most vulnerable populations while addressing the root causes of our community's longstanding challenges and changing lives for the better. To join the fight—through giving, advocacy, and volunteering—visit www.uwsm.org.