Feed the Hungry closes out 10th annual campaign

Published 9:04 am Monday, December 23, 2019

DOWAGIAC — Friday morning, a large truck parked in front of C. Wimberly automotive in Dowagiac, carrying inside thousands of dollars of food. With the help of more than a dozen volunteers and first responders, that food was unloaded from the truck and delivered to area food pantries in time for the holidays.

“It was just amazing to see,” said Jim Allen, organizer of the annual Feed the Hungry campaign. “So many people came out to help.”

Friday, Dowagiac’s Feed the Hungry campaign wrapped its annual fundraising season by donating more than $4,000 worth of food to food pantries in Cass County. Now in its 10th year, the Feed the Hungry Campaign is a collaboration between C. Wimberly Automotive and ACTION Ministries that collects donations throughout the holiday season. Money raised through the campaign is used to purchase food items from Feeding America West Michigan’s Benton Harbor warehouse for pennies on the dollar. For every $1 that Feed the Hungry raises, $6 of food can be purchased, according to organizers. Additionally, the money is used to support mobile food pantries throughout the year that can bring fresh produce and other items not typically found on food pantry shelves to those in need.

This year’s fundraising goal was $20,000, which was exceeded in the final week of the campaign, Allen said.

“We once again went over our goal,” Allen said. “In our last week, we really had a big push.”

With yet another successful year of Feed the Hungry in the books, Allen reflected on the last decade of the program. Over the 10 years of its existence, he said the program had grown more than he ever could have dreamed and has helped countless people in Cass County.

“We started small and have grown so much,” he said. “I always say, this is the best paying job I’ve ever had, and I don’t get paid for it. … It’s very rewarding.”

Almost as much as he enjoys giving back to those in need, Allen said he likes to see the community come together to support the program.

“[The community] has always really supported us, especially our first responders and our police and the Sheriff’s Office, who do so much for us,” Allen said. “I’m not an emotional guy, but it’s emotional and a great feeling to know the community supports this and each other. Without the community, we wouldn’t have a program.”

Already Allen is planning for the future of the Feed the Hungry program. Not only does he want to beat the program’s fundraising goal once again next year, but he said he hopes the next 10 years of the program are as successful as its first.