By Submitted Published 1:06 pm Friday, February 3, 2017
Helping Hands of Cass County will soon expand the services it provides to local families in need, offering monthly food baskets to selected households.
“With the high cost of groceries, the need for food continues to be great in our community,” said Helping Hands Coordinator Mary Tompi. “In 2016, we provided 634 food baskets to families. Beginning in 2017, Helping Hands will provide monthly food baskets to families that qualify.”
The agency’s board is also working on offering boxes that meet particular needs, such as personal care products, cleaning products and baby products.
The nonprofit organization, which has been located in downtown Cassopolis since 1984, provides food, clothing, medicine, transportation funds, household items and, on occasion, support for utilities to residents of Cass County.
“This year has been extraordinary for us,” said President Diane Seifert. “We have received generous donations from many local groups, including the Edward Lowe Foundation, Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, Michigan Gateway Foundation-Youth Advisory Group and the Ladies of the Moose.”
Many other organizations conducted food drives that have provided a substantial amount of food for distribution, including Cassopolis Dental, Sam Adams Elementary School, the Diamond Lake Yacht Club, Cassopolis Family Clinic, K & M Welding and students from the Ross Beatty “Rangers to the Rescue” campaign.
Helping Hands also regularly receives funds or food from area churches, including St. Ann Catholic Church, Pleasant View Church of Christ, Cass United Methodist Church, and the United Presbyterian Church of Cassopolis. There are also many anonymous donors.
Two large food donations made an impact on Helping Hand’s food resources.
In 2016, United Way of Southwest Michigan provided grants for three Feeding America trucks and seven are planned for 2017. On Jan. 28, board members and volunteers were busy stacking 130 boxes of food donated through the 14th annual Food Drop, organized by Granger Community Church.
Helping Hands pantry and shop is located in downtown Cassopolis, and is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.