United Way “Christmas in June” food drive raises 20,000 items for 32 area pantries

26 local businesses participated in the third annual United Way of Southwest Michigan event


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 asked local businesses and community members to participate in its Christmas in June event to stock local food pantries with items to get them through the warmer months. 


This year, 26 businesses in Berrien and Cass Counties participated in Christmas in June, collecting more than 20,000 items that were delivered to 32 area pantries—and bringing much-needed cheer to local families and those in the community who serve them.


New this year, four local companies went head-to-head to win a United Way “Christmas in June” challenge. Indiana Michigan Power, an AEP Company; Gast Manufacturing; Spectrum Health Lakeland; and Whirlpool Corporation competed to out-collect each other in the food drive for local pantries. All four companies hustled hard and together gathered 18,600 food items—AEP emerged the winner with 12,000 food items collected.


“It was amazing to see these four local companies step up as leaders of our food drive this year because it helps motivate everyone in the community. Our heartfelt thanks to all of them, and congratulations to AEP for a year of bragging rights!” said Charlotte Becker, Director of Annual Campaign at United Way of Southwest Michigan. “All the donors and volunteers made a big difference in the lives of people in need in Southwest Michigan.”


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.


United Way of Southwest Michigan extends special thanks to St. Joseph High School Football Team, UPS, Cass County Sheriff’s Office, and AEP for delivering all the items to the pantries!




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.


Ryan CheeversComment