“We got a call from Whirlpool Corporation asking if we were interested in donating home appliances for some of our low income customers,” said Yvonne Vidt of the Southwest Michigan Community Action Agency (SMCAA). “And I said absolutely!”
SMCAA is dedicated to reducing poverty in Michigan and changing the lives of low-income Michigan residents through a variety of programs, and is part of a nationwide network of more than 1,000 local organizations that help people move on. from poverty to economic stability and self-sufficiency.
“Due to the pandemic, a lot of our customers had children at home and even grandchildren at home, so there was a lot of extra use of their devices and wear and tear on them,” Vidt said. .
This is our work – community action – and this is what we do. It’s also important to the customers we serve, so we appreciate everything Whirlpool has done for us. ”
Through SMCAA, 10 families in need in the community of Benton Harbor, Michigan were helped through the donation with up to two new appliances in each home.
“These are clients who have requested services through our agency,” said Kim Smith-Oldham, Executive Director of SMCAA. “They were low income and met our eligibility criteria to live 125-150% below the poverty line, so we’re probably talking about less than $ 20,000 in average income per household.”
The agency has received funding from the state and the federal government due to the coronavirus pandemic for assistance with utilities, rental assistance and other programs. Smith-Oldham said this device donation fits well with these other programs to provide help to those who need it most during this difficult time.
“We are the Housing Assistance Resource Agency (HARA) in Van Buren County,” explained Smith-Oldham, “and we are currently working with Berrien County HARA on the utility assistance portion of their COVID Emergency Rental Assistance program ( CERA) as well as in Cass County. ”The agency also organizes regular monthly and quarterly food distributions for its clients, one for the elderly and the other for families.
“Last year we served over 52,000 families in the tri-county area with food distributions,” she said. Whirlpool Corporation is also partnering with the agency on its food program, with volunteers who come every year to distribute Christmas turkeys and other food items for the holidays.
“These donations are very important,” Smith-Oldham said. “It’s our community action at work and that’s what we do. It’s also important to the customers we serve, so we appreciate everything Whirlpool has done for us. ”