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SMCAA secures record donations from Stuff-a-Truck event

Tony Wittkowski

Dec 16, 2023

Wolf: 'We can also be a blessing to others'

BENTON HARBOR — The Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency broke its fundraising record during an annual Stuff-A-Truck event thanks in large part to a matching effort from a St. Joseph business.

Wolf Financial Advisory presented a check last week to SMCAA leadership for $22,500 as part of a fundraising effort for Stuff-A-Truck. As a result, SMCAA was able to raise $45,198 – surpassing the previous record of more than $37,000 in donations.

SMCAA Executive Director Kim Smith Oldham said all of the products they receive over the five-and-a-half day event comes back to the warehouse and goes out to their various pantries.

“As we went through the years, it started becoming money donations instead of just the food items, which works because we can also buy fresh fruits, veggies, frozen meat products. Items that can’t be donated at the event,” Smith Oldham said. “Everything that I purchase is from the community and local farmers, so it stays right here.”

SMCAA has been involved with the Stuff-A-Truck event for 16 years, she said. During last year’s event, Wolf Financial committed to contributing $10,000. While the event surpassed that total, Wolf Financial CEO Robert Wolf said he was compelled to raise the stakes.

“I just threw out the challenge on the air (during an interview with a radio station) to say ‘let’s up it to $22,500 and see if we can all come together,’” Wolf said.

After he raised the goal to $22,500, Wolf said a representative from Honor Credit Union helped put them over the top to reach their stretch goal.

“This has been a wonderful partnership with Wolf Financial,” Smith Oldham said. “It’s exceeded anything I’ve seen in the 27 years that I’ve been at the agency.”

After raising a record amount from the event, SMCAA leadership was also given a personal hygiene shopping trip at Roger’s Foodland, courtesy of Wolf.

SMCAA Community Services Manager Yvonne Vidt was handed Wolf’s credit card and instructed to fill two shopping carts. Vidt joked that it took longer to pay for the items than it was to pack the carts.

“I never saw somebody run as fast as she did. I think she even changed into her racing shoes,” Wolf said.

Vidt said they were able to buy more than $1,000 of personal hygiene items, including deodorant, shampoo, diapers, combs and toothbrushes.

“It’s our way of giving back. We’re all blessed with what we have, but we can also be a blessing to others,” Wolf said. “We’re grateful for those people that entrust their financial needs with us, which allows us to be able to do these things. It’s our mission to help one another.”

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