St. Francis Outreach continued food program throughout pandemic

The day after its board meeting in mid-march, Saint Francis Outreach members knew their Backpack Weekend Food Program in Dowagiac Union Schools would play a more important role in assisting students who would then be spending time at home instead of the classroom. Families would be responsible for providing more meals and they needed help.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians was the first federally-recognized organization to assist Saint Francis Outreach in funding the Weekend Food BackPack Program supporting food insecure children in the Dowagiac school system.

The partnership has just completed its fourth year and has been vital to the continued success of this initiative, officials said.

Saint Francis Outreach is a 501(c)(3) Catholic Charitable organization affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo.

Other financial partnering supporters include:  Sister Lakes Community Church, Elks Lodge 889, Pokagon United Methodist Church, Lyons Industries, Dr. Jon Gillesby from Dowagiac Family Dentistry, Cass County 100 Women Who Care, Feeding America, and parishioners from Holy Maternity of Mary Catholic Church, and Sacred Heart of Mary Catholic Church as well as individual donors in our community.

In addition to the Dowagiac Middle School, the four elementary schools in the Dowagiac School system, Kincheloe, Justus Gage, Patrick Hamilton,and Sister Lakes, have been receiving a grand total of 180 bags of food per week ending during the last week of May.

There were 35 bags each week at each of the four elementary schools and 40 each week to Dowagiac Middle School. The cost to provide each bag of food is approximately $4.50 every week. The food was purchased each month from numerous vendors, including Save- A-Lot, Family Fare, and Harding’s Market in Dowagiac, JA distribution in Buchanan, and Sam’s Club. Throughout the year, volunteers Jeanne Jourdan, Ann Kleva, Marcia Reed, Ken Reed, Donna Dodd, Beth Mahar, Lu Ann Scott, and Dave Scott coordinated the food purchases and distribution.

The packing and delivering volunteers were numerous from each of the schools including the counselors, principals, and secretaries. Several community members gathered in the lower level Holy Maternity of Mary Catholic Church where the food is stored and packed.

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Rotary Club receives grant from District 6360 Foundation

Cass County

Underground Railroad Society of Cass County receives grant

Cassopolis

Cassopolis resident combines love of gardening with giving back

Cass County

COA to host ‘Ice Cream Social Distancing’ events

News

Niles nonprofit offers robotics, sewing summer camps

News

Niles resident works to raise butterflies, educate community

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Union Schools superintendent offers update on reopening plans

Cass County

Niles man sentenced in 2019 shooting incident

Berrien County

Gov. Whitmer signs mandatory mask order

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Elks donate to Saint Francis Outreach

Education

Edwardsburg Public Schools Foundation hosting drive-in movie

Education

Fourth, fifth graders launch rockets during YMCA’s Summer My Way

Cass County

State AG office to handle Diamond Lake Party case

Sports

Big Ten to play conference-only games in seven sports

Edwardsburg

Inaugural Edwardsburg Art Fair Aug. 1

Newsletter Sports

Niles City Golf Tournament registration under way

Berrien County

Gov. Whitmer signs executive directive requiring implicit bias training for health professionals

Buchanan

High Profile Boutique Cannabis to open next week in Buchanan

Dowagiac

Janel’s Industries named one of Michigan’s 50 Companies To Watch

News

Wonderland Cinema to show “The Incredibles” Friday

Newsletter Sports

MIS to host four races without fans in August

Sports

PGA cancels Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup until next year

Buchanan

Fernwood Botanical Gardens offering pop-up weddings

Education

Niles Community Schools hosts annual libraries, adapted for social distancing