Vincent J. Jewelers donates to Feed the Hungry

DOWAGIAC — Who knew a bracelet could do so much?

Throughout the month of December, Vincent J. Jewelers on Front Street in Dowagiac sold simple red and pearl beaded bracelets to raise money for ACTION Ministry’s and C. Wimberley Automotive’s Feed the Hungry food drive. The donation will go toward supporting the ministry’s food pantry, located on Main Street in Dowagiac, as well as toward paying for the bimonthly mobile food pantry visits to the local community.

Selling 50 bracelets at $10 a piece, the jewelry store raised more than $500 for the campaign through proceeds and donations. Acting as the last donor for this year’s campaign, the jewelry store’s donation put the campaign over its $20,000 goal, with nearly $26,000 raised from local businesses and individuals.

“We are basically 30 percent over our goal, which is huge,” said organizer of the fundraiser Jim Allen. “That will turn into $150,000 of food. All that money will go toward food and all that money stays right here [in Cass County and surrounding areas].”

Owner of Vincent J. Jewelers Jim Frazier said that he donates every year to the Feed the Hungry cause, and every time he does, he is surprised by the support he receives from his customers and community by selling the bracelets for Feed the Hungry.

“It was crazy. We sold out really fast, and people would be calling us asking us if we would be getting any more [bracelets],” Frazier said. “There were even people who would come in and say, ‘I don’t want a bracelet, but I want to donate the $10.”

For Frazier, the main draw of donating to Feed the Hungry is the local aspect of the fundraiser, he said.

“If I’m going to donate, I want to see the people benefitted in my area rather than somebody by Detroit or farther. They have their own charities and organizations,” he said. “I like my donations to stay local. … There are people here who need our help and customers have always shown appreciation that we give back to the community.”

Allen said Feed the Hungry was grateful for the annual donation from Vincent J. Jewelers.

“Let me tell you, you should never go anywhere else for jewelry,” Allen said. “He brings in hundreds of dollars for our drive.”

Donations like the one from Frazier are incredibly important to the Feed the Hungry drive, Allen said, as the drive relies on donations to operate.

“[The businesses leaders who donate] are truly rallying for the people that we help,” he said. “There are people in need, and for those people, a donation can mean everything.”

Frazier added that he was happy to donate this year and will continue to do so in subsequent years.

“It’s the little things that can help the people in need in our community,” he said. “If we can help, we will.”

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