Girls on the Run program organizes food drive

Despite the name of their group, people won’t have to chase down the members of Patrick Hamilton’s Girls on the Run team to find them next Saturday, May 21.

The 10 girls, along with their coaches, will be stationed outside of Dowagiac’s Harding’s and Family Fare stores from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day, as they collect nonperishable food items and monetary donations from customers. The team is organizing the food drive for Dowagiac’s ACTION ministries food pantry for its community impact project.

Team coach Angela Solloway and her daughter, Donni, suggested the idea of organizing a food drive to the children as a service project, which the girls responded well to, Solloway said.

“Some of the kids said they’ve had family members or themselves use the pantry before, so they thought it was a wonderful idea,” she said.

Giving back to the community is one of the requirements of Girls on the Run, a 10-week afterschool program designed to improve the self confidence of girls in third through fifth grade, Solloway said. Meeting twice a week after class, the members of the Patrick Hamilton program work on exercises designed to improve their self-esteem as well as train for a 5K run that will take place June 4 in Lawton alongside other girls in Cass and Van Buren counties.

This is the first year that Solloway and her daughter have served as coaches for the program. The pair decided to work with the organization as a way to give back, as Donni, now 19, was once a member of a team when she was in elementary school.

The program helped her during a tough period in her life, as she was recovering from a dog attack that left her with scars across her face, Solloway said

“They taught her to love herself, to find her inner beauty,” she said. “It brought out her self confidence. I’ve seen the difference it made in her life.”

In addition to heading up the Pat Ham team, the two also serve as the coaches of the Cassopolis’ Sam Adams Elementary team. The members of that group recently completed their community impact project last month, helping to cleanup the village’s South Side Park, Solloway said.

In addition to the collection on Saturday, classrooms across all of Patrick Hamilton are collecting food for the drive, with the class that collects the most food receiving a pizza party, Solloway said.

The drive will come at an important time for local families, as the school year comes to a close and parents will be responsible for feeding their children more often, Solloway said.

Even if people don’t want to donate canned or other nonperishable goods, monetary donations will be gladly accepted, as ACTION can use the funds to purchase food for pennies on the dollar, she added.

The coach encourages locals to come out to support the drive next Saturday, as way to help out the community and show the Girls on the Run members that they care, Solloway said.

“For every action you take there’s a reaction,” she said. “We want to show the kids that you get a positive reaction whenever you choose to get involved.”

Dowagiac

Medical event causes car to crash into Dowagiac Burger King

Cass County

Cassopolis man sent to prison on drug charges

Dowagiac

SMC recognized for turning students into citizens

Dowagiac

ETS program awarded grant from Department of Education

Cass County

Dowagiac man who broke elementary school windows sentenced to probation

Dowagiac

Changes to retirement benefits cause for concern among Cass County employees

News

Niles first ward residents ask for an end to gun violence in their community

Buchanan

Buchanan Area Senior Center raising funds to convert porch into sunroom

Cass County

Man arrested on drug charges in Mason Township

Cass County

Cass County Commissioners approve grant for Dowagiac River restoration

Business

Lyons Industries donates 12 thermal imaging cameras to Indian Lake Volunteer Fire Department

Cass County

Niles man seriously injured in motorcycle crash

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: Sept. 13-14

Berrien County

Local emergency departments experiencing high volumes, wait times

Berrien County

Residents demand Berrien County commissioners take action on mask mandate

Business

Cassopolis hosts Cass County Leadership Summit

Business

Owners of vintage farm tractors invited to Under the Harvest Moon

Business

Edwardsburg welcomes new construction business

Cassopolis

Cassopolis organization to host walk honoring National Suicide Prevention Month

Business

PHOTO STORY: A-Mazing Acres opens for season

Buchanan

Niles teen builds Eagle Scout project on McCoy Creek Trail

Business

New short-term rental property group to offer guests ‘curated’ Dowagiac experience

Cass County

Two women injured in La Grange Township crash

News

Niles hosts town hall between community, law enforcement