Berrien Community Foundation seeks volunteers for Giving Tuesday

Published 8:36 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Berrien Community Foundation is looking for volunteers to participate in Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27.

Volunteers are needed to give one hour of their time to help pack care kits for seniors in need for Giving Tuesday. As part of the event, 60 volunteers at the Berrien Community Foundation will pack 750 gift boxes containing personal care items such as shampoo, lotion and soap for low-income, home bound senior citizens in Berrien County. The boxes are packed, wrapped and contain a hand-written note from a volunteer letting the recipient know that others in the community are thinking of them.

“There are seniors who are using baking soda instead of toothpaste to save money,” said Berrien Community Foundation President Lisa Cripps-Downey. “We want to provide help for our seniors and also educate people on the needs of many seniors in our community. According to census data, one in 10 Berrien County senior citizens is living below the poverty level. When out-of-pocket medical costs are factored in, it is 1 in 7 seniors living below the poverty level. That is one of the reasons we are working to build our Senior Empowerment Endowment so we can respond to the needs of seniors in our community.”

The care packages will be delivered to seniors throughout Berrien County in December by the Area Agency on Aging and Meals on Wheels. The packages will provide not only a special gift but also some welcome budget relief, project officials said.

“Younger people use Amazon to have things delivered to our homes, but that is not a reality for many of our clients,” said Linda Strohl, executive director of Senior Nutrition Services for Meals on Wheels. “Homebound seniors often have no family nearby to shop for them.  Winter is also an even harder time to get out for seniors. These packages will provide items not just for hygiene, but for comfort… It also makes them feel like someone remembers they are alive. If the only person you see on a daily or weekly basis is the Meals On Wheels driver, that takes a toll on your mental health.”

Individuals interested in volunteering for a one-hour shift are encouraged to visit the BCF website at or call the foundation directly at (269) 983-3304.

The goal of the Berrien Community Foundation is to connect needs with resources in the community. For more than 65 years, BCF has sought to help individuals develop funds and endowments focused on the specific interests or agencies they feel are worthwhile. The wealth they’ve developed over a lifetime aims to make more positive community impact. Those interested in supporting the organization can visit their website or call the organization and ask for Lisa Cripps-Downey, BCF president.