MT. PLEASANT — The giving spirit continues its hold on the Mt. Pleasant community through Al Huisinga’s canned food drive.
The community member, who held a garage sale in August, decided to donate proceeds to various nonprofit in Henry County in addition to collaborating with the Old Threshers Festival of Lights to host a food drive for the Fellowship Cup.
Huisinga encouraged area residents to take part in the Festival of Lights third annual Fun Run/Walk and donate canned goods in lieu of the usual admission, which Huisinga would cover with funds from his garage sale. Any admissions fees collected from the run were also donated to the Fellowship Cup.
The event saw a record-breaking 541 people join in on the holiday fun, during which 1,100 donated food items were collected.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling,” Huisinga said of the community’s support of his food drive.
“It gives me encouragement, and the people of Mt. Pleasant are very generous. If you come up with a project like this, people are going to come together and make it work,” Huisinga said.
The items went toward the Fellowship Cup’s annual Thanksgiving meal distribution, which served more than 150 families from the area. Any items not used in the most recent distribution will be added to the nonprofit’s Christmas dinner meals.
In addition to the food items, Huisinga, alongside the Festival of Lights organizers, presented $1,500 in donations to the Fellowship Cup on Monday.
“It’s great to be able to do what you can do to help people who are down and out, especially during the pandemic,” Huisinga added.
Ken Brown, executive director of the Fellowship Cup, who has worked at the nonprofit for seven years, said the organization has “never gone without, especially this time of year.”
“It’s just a great testimony to this community and how everybody really steps up no matter what, pandemic or not,” Brown added.
As the pandemic drags on, Brown, who noted the nonprofit originally saw a dip in households that it served, said he is beginning to see more people and new households who have never utilized the group’s services before.
As the weather gets colder, Brown is seeing more people dealing with homelessness seek assistance.
Brown said the canned food donations were a nice addition for the nonprofit in light of the cancellation of the community’s annual free Thanksgiving meal.
“People who were signed up for the meal that they had to cancel, they were able to come,” Brown said.
“The shelves are still full and overflowing because of all the generosity of everyone,” he added.