PHOTO STORY: United Way event donates 1,000 backpacks to Cass County students

Published 12:21 pm Monday, August 23, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — Nearly 1,000 Cass County children grades pre-kindergarten through 12th grade are ready to head back to school in style, thanks to a regional nonprofit organization.

Last week, United Way of Southwest Michigan donated 1,000 school supply-filled backpacks, 20 of which contained a “golden ticket” for more items valued at $200, to Cass County students at its annual School Supply Spectacular. The event was hosted at two locations. The first was hosted Wednesday, Aug. 18 at Marcellus High School, 303 W. Arbor St., Marcellus. The second was hosted at Brookside Learning Center, 61662 Dailey Road, Cassopolis.

At the Cassopolis event, more than 600 backpacks were given out to area children, while at the Marcellus event, 200 were given away. The remaining backpacks were donated to the Department of Health and Human Services, Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services, and area school districts.

“This event is intended to serve those families in Cass County who are experiencing financial hardship and are not able to afford school supplies and backpacks for their children,” said Jennifer Tomshack, marketing and communications manager.

For the second year in a row, United Way hosted the event as a drive-thru to provide a safer experience for families during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

A Feeding America of West Michigan Mobile Food Pantry and Van Buren/Cass District Health Department vaccine clinic were also on-site.

Major sponsors include:

  • 100+ Women Who Care
  • The McLoughlin Family Foundation
  • Michigan Gateway Community Foundation
  • The Pokagon Fund
  • St. Denys Foundation

Silver level sponsors include:

  • Edward Lowe Foundation

Gold level sponsors include:

  • AEP Foundation
  • Lyons Industries
  • TCF Bank
  • Wolverine Mutual Insurance Company