C. Wimberley Feed the Hungry campaign raises $30,000

DOWAGIAC — Inside Vincent J. Jewelers on Monday afternoon, Jim Allen, chairperson of the C. Wimberley Automotive’s Feed the Hungry campaign, shared a record-breaking announcement. Alongside him stood Jeff Neumann, the media liaison for ACTION Ministries, Jim Frazier, the owner of Vincent J. Jewelers, and his daughter, Angela Roberts, who works alongside her father at the shop.

In its 10th year, Feed the Hungry exceeded its $20,000 goal by raising a total $30,000. In 2018, Feed the Hungry raised $24,600. Donations are funneled through ACTION Mministries, which will deliver more than 5,000 pounds of food to families in need in the Cass County area.

“My favorite part about this year was that it was the easiest year,” Neumann said. “People jumped up and started donating money right away.”

Mobile food pantries sponsored by ACTION Ministries deliver food to areas twice a month. Last year, ACTION Ministries had 19 trucks visit Cass County. This year, the campaign will use 20 trucks.

“Those 20 trucks will feed 100 families each time. It’s been a blessing,” Neumann said.

This year, Allen said people were more aware of the Feed the Hungry campaign. New to 2019, Allen created a website, cwimberleyfeedthehungry.com, with more information about the campaign and testimonials.

He said through the support from the city of Dowagiac, the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce, the Dowagiac Police Department, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, the Dowagiac Fire Department and the Dowagiac District Library, the program gained more credibility.

Allen also said people often donate because they know the food and money will stay in the area, and that 100 percent of their donations are donated. 

“We have a couple of expenses, but not many,” Neumann said. “This was just an extra blessing. It was an extra outpouring of people giving without being asked.”

Allen plans to keep the goal at $20,000 as he is confident the community can hit it every year. As December 2019 neared, Allen worked to collect last-minute donations.

“The city just rallies,” Allen said. “Cass County has also been very involved with donations. People stop me on the street because they have either $5, $10 or $15 to donate. Every dollar buys $6 of food.”

Frazier annually supports the Feed the Hungry campaign by selling stocking stuffer items.

In 2019, the shop sold sterling silver ball earrings and raised $750.

Annually, the store donates about $500 to $600.

“We purchase the earrings from a supplier,” said Frazier. “We absorb those costs and anything we take in. We donate $10 directly to Feed the Hungry.”

Every year, community groups come together to support Feed the Hungry, including local businesses in Dowagiac and Cass County. As visitors walk downtown, they can see stickers on the windows of local businesses supporting the campaign.

“They raised $30,000 in Dowagiac. That just floored me,” said Frazier. “There are so many people who benefit from that.”