United Way seeks to restock area food pantries during ‘Christmas in June’

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — United Way of Southwest Michigan’s annual “Christmas in June” food drive for local pantries kicks off today to benefit 38 pantries in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties.

Every year, food pantries across southwest Michigan are fully stocked in the winter months thanks to holiday donations, but when summer comes, pantry shelves are sparse. This can leave low-income families with limited options during this time, and more families than ever need help this year, according to United Way officials.

So, for the fourth year in a row, United Way of Southwest Michigan is asking local businesses and community members to participate in its “Christmas in June” event to stock local food pantries with items to get them through the warmer months.

United Way is also making it safer and easier than ever because it is doing the shopping. Residents can visit the “Christmas in June” page at uwsm.org and pick how much they want to spend, and United Way will make sure each pantry gets exactly what they need.

For example, a $10 gift provides the ability to purchase 28 items, which will provide 13 meals for a family of four, which should last them three days. A $150 gift provides the ability to purchase 402 items which will provide 138 meals for a family of four. There are food baskets and shopping charts in various dollar amounts in between.

“We had to come up with a different way of helping food pantries this year, and our ‘digital food drive’ is simple and easy since it can be done without even leaving home,” said Charlotte Becker, director of the annual campaign at United Way of Southwest Michigan. “The need is tremendous this year, and everyone who donates will make a big impact on families in our community.”

“Christmas in June” is part of a worldwide United Way “Day of Action” effort, hosted in June, during which tens of thousands of people across the globe volunteer with local United Ways to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community.

Join United Way in bringing some cheer to local pantries again this June! Visit uwsm.org to help.