Berrien County Cancer Services to host Pennies for Patients

Published 10:06 am Wednesday, May 8, 2019

NILES — A penny may not seem like much, but to the Berrien County Cancer Service, every cent can help the nonprofit provide care to residents battling cancer.

Berrien County Cancer Services will host its 30th annual Pennies for Patients fundraiser from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at St. John’s United Church of Christ, 601 Sycamore St. in Niles. A second drop-off location will Pennies will be available from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Marie Yeager Cancer Center, in St. Joseph. If people miss the drop-off opportunities, donations can still be contributed online or at the nonprofit for the 2019 campaign through May 31.

Nancy Church, the president and CEO of Berrien County Cancer Services, welcomed people to bring any amount they wish to donate.

“Of course, we accept all forms of pennies — as I say, copper, silver and paper pennies,” Church said. “On our website, you can use your plastic penny, otherwise known as a credit card.”

Last year, Pennies for Patients helped to raise $22,322. This year, Church hopes to be able to reach $30,000, in honor of the fundraiser’s 30th anniversary.

Church said Pennies for Patients seeks to emphasize the power of coming together to donate for a cause.

“The premise of the fundraiser is that anyone can collect a penny,” Church said. “Everybody is affected by cancer. A cancer diagnosis often needs months and even years of treatment.”

Berrien County Cancer Service is a nonprofit that provides in-home oncology nursing care to residents with cancer or related illnesses. The services are provided at no charge to patients, and community donations make that possible, Church said.

“Everything we do goes back to the local community,” Church said. “Many of our patients are currently going through treatment and are not eligible for skilled nursing in the home, and yet, they have such severe needs.”

The nonprofit also operates a medical loan closet, boutique for aesthetic supplies, like wigs, and support groups in Niles and St. Joseph.

Throughout last year. Church said Berrien County Cancer Service nurses provided 1,848 patient visits and more than 500 people were served.

In addition to fundraisers throughout the year, the Berrien County Cancer Service is supported by the United Way of Southwest Michigan.

Since the fundraiser began 29 years ago, Church said Pennies for Patients had collected more than $500,000. Church encouraged the community to help that number grow. 

“In terms of why they should donate, all the funds stay local,” Church said. “We are able to provide care for a population that our healthcare totally misses. The patients we see are ones that would have difficulty getting through their treatments [without our care].”

Those interested in learning more about the Berrien County Cancer Service can visit or call the organization at (269) 429-3281.