Business donors help Marcellus students ‘Shop 4 Success’

Published 4:01 pm Sunday, August 25, 2013

Midwest Energy mascot Gus Gas

Midwest Energy mascot Gordy Gas

CASSOPOLIS — More than 30 Marcellus Elementary School students Shopped 4 Success on Thursday and will start off their school year on the right foot thanks to a collaboration of local business partners.

Midwest Energy Cooperative, in partnership with G.W. Jones Exchange Bank, Kemner-Iott Insurance Agency, Hastings Mutual Insurance and Abbott and Powers Agency provided an early-morning, back-to-school shopping experience at Target in Benton Harbor.

Each student was provided with a $150 Target gift card and guided through the store to purchase clothing and school supplies. The store opened at 7 a.m. to accommodate this special outing, and provided special snacks and beverages for all students and adults.

The program was designed to support the community and local families and provide a good start to the school year for students who might experience unique needs or circumstances.

Students were identified by school officials based on achievements, work habits, attendance, attitude and other factors.

Tammy Curtis, social worker at Marcellus Elementary School, was deeply touched by the outpouring of support from the partnering businesses.

“This was such an amazing opportunity for our students and an experience they won’t soon forget. Lives were touched in meaningful ways, and I’m thankful to the businesses for the love and commitment poured out over our school community. There is so much bad news in the corporate world today; it’s incredible to experience and be the beneficiary of the good that goes on right here in our home community.”

“We are part of the community as a local, consumer-owned utility, and the Midwest Energy Cooperative team understands the needs and challenges faced by our members,” said Nicole Barfell, community development specialist. “One of our key goals is to give back to and support the individuals and communities we serve, and this was a great way to do just that. This was a huge undertaking, and we’re incredibly grateful for the support of our partners in bringing a vision to reality for these kids and their families. None of us can do it alone, but in collaboration with these kids in mind, amazing things can – and did – happen.”

Midwest Energy Cooperative is a member-owned electric utility providing electric distribution and an assortment of energy-related programs and services to more than 35,000 customers in 11 counties in southern Michigan and northern Indiana and Ohio.