Many Hands Make Light Work for Michigan Harvest Gathering

Posted on September 05, 2018

As the MHA begins its 22nd year of sponsoring the Michigan Harvest Gathering (MHG), MHA members are continually looking for new ways to refresh their food drives and collection campaigns.

Son of Cassie Fossitt, Helen Newberry Joy Hospital Community Relations & Marketing CoordinatorOne example of a great success in reimagining the hospital’s food drive comes from Helen Newberry Joy Hospital, an MHG participant since 1998. For nearly 20 years, the hospital held two-month-long internal campaigns each year for hospital employees. But in 2017, the hospital decided to try shortening the campaign timeframe and involving the entire community to lighten the load for hospital staff and collect even more food for families in the region.

Together with Newberry High School and Tahquamenon Area Schools, Helen Newberry Joy rebranded the campaign as “Homecoming Harvest Gathering,” creating a competition among grades 7 – 12, where the class that collected the most nonperishable items would be announced at the pep rally of homecoming week and awarded with a sponsored pizza party.

With Helen Newberry Joy serving as one of the largest employers in its Upper Peninsula community, they knew that participation with the schools would get entire families involved. Hospital staff could now have their children drop off donations at school, making a difference in the community while teaching their children the value of giving back.

Newberry High School Junior Class“Anytime you can reach students and future members of our community, the desire to give back can translate to their adult lives,” said Cassie Fossitt, who was hired as the community relations and marketing coordinator at Helen Newberry Joy Hospital in September 2017 and spearheaded the overhaul of the annual food drive. “It was a win-win for everyone involved and taught valuable lessons.”

Besides the high school, Helen Newberry Joy also partnered with two local grocery stores, encouraging sales of case lots of canned goods for donation.

In total, Helen Newberry collected more than 1,000 items, 441 of which came from the first-place junior class.

“It is no secret that food is a major motivator for teenagers,” said Fossitt. “I announced the winners as part of the Homecoming pep assembly and everyone was very excited.”

The total collected in just one week matched the total from the previous year’s campaign.

Members of the Newberry High School JV football team.Following the collection drive, the junior varsity football team even volunteered to distribute the collected food to area food pantries.

“We weren’t afraid to think outside the box and to get other members of the community involved,” said Fossitt. “Many hands make light work and these young men were able to see the direct impact that their donations made on our community.”

The partnership worked so well, Helen Newberry Joy will be continuing the partnership again next year.

To learn more about how Helen Newberry Joy integrated its local high school into its collection campaign, contact Cassie Fossitt at Helen Newberry Joy Hospital & Healthcare Center.

Harvest Gathering logoTo learn more about the 2018 Michigan Harvest Gathering and how to make a commitment to participate, visit the MHA Michigan Harvest Gathering webpage.


  • Many Hands Make Light Work for Michigan Harvest Gathering

Tags: Michigan Harvest Gathering, Helen Newberry Joy Hospital

Posted in: Member News

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