United Way helping local food banks with urgent need for donations

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ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- The coronavirus pandemic has brought financial strain to many people, and for some, simply being able to afford food is now a struggle.

United Way of Southwest Michigan is holding its fourth annual Christmas in June fundraiser to help those struggling. 

Due to COVID-19 and food pantry donations being historically low in June, they have a higher demand of people in need, yet are seeing a far lower number of donations.

“What we found was in the holiday months, the pantries were being inundated with donations because people are feeling giving at that time,” said Charlotte Becker, Director of Annual Campaign for United Way of Southwest Michigan. “Summer rolls around and people are going on vacations and they start forgetting, so the pantries would be pretty bare.”

There’s just a week left of the month long fundraiser, which benefits 38 pantries. United Way hopes to donate $1,000 per pantry.

“Ideally, we would love to get about $1,000 per pantry. We’ve not quite hit halfway to our goal, which is really why we’re trying to push this last and final week for donations,” said Becker.

In place of their normal event, United Way has set up online donating and found ways to make it fun and interactive.

“There’s grocery baskets with different things,” said Becker. “So for a $10 donation, it explains exactly how many items you can buy, how many meals will serve families and then it goes up to a shopping cart for $150 and you can see the impact of that. You always have the option to get an empty shopping cart and fill it with whatever you want.”

As we continue to live through a pandemic, people in Michiana need Christmas in June more than ever.

“The need has already been there but now it’s even greater because we have other people struggling who maybe haven’t before,” said Becker.

The fundraiser ends Tuesday, June 30.

To start the donation process, head to https://app.mobilecause.com/e/pTmyBQ?vid=99jkp

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