Whirlpool refrigerators donated to Benton Harbor High School as part of new pilot program
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- The Whirlpool Corporation-- founded in Benton Harbor-- has partnered with Feeding America West Michigan to create the Feel-Good Fridge program, which delivers recycled refrigerators and fresh food to communities that suffer from food insecurity.
The program has already seen success through partnerships with non-profit organizations throughout Michigan-- but today marks the first time the program is working directly with a school-- which Benton Harbor school administrators and Whirlpool employees said has been a longtime goal for both of them.
“It’s been about a year of progress and operations getting up and running, but we’re starting to see it come to life here," said Kyle Trewhella, Senior Sales Manager with Whirlpool.
“When you find a need, you meet that need," said Dr. Andrae Townsel, Benton Harbor Area Schools Superintendent. "We have probably one of the best chief of student support services in the state of Michigan. He worked very closely with Feeding America and also with Whirlpool and we made it happen!”
Volunteers loaded up over two-thousand pounds worth of food from Feeding America's warehouse to stock the fridges-- and Dr. Townsel said they worked to select food that everyone can enjoy.
“Non-perishable, perishable, fruits, vegetables, fun foods for kids—you know what the young people like!" he said. "We’re still going to make sure that not only are we going to be in compliance with our healthy foods act, but also we still want to meet the kids where they are and give them what they want.”
Whirlpool has worked with Benton Harbor schools before with the Care Counts program-- which offers the use of washers and dryers for families that need a place to clean their clothes-- and Dr. Townsel is proud that the district is home to programs that work to support its community and be a model for the rest of the state.
“This is the pilot Michigan, and it’s starting right here in Benton Harbor," he said. "Once we get the refrigerators in and get the food in here, we’re going to work with our administrative team to identify the families that need that support and we’re going to get the food right into their hands and into their refrigerators.”