J. Rettenmaier Sponsors Food Donation Campaign

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Shown left to right: employees of J. Rettenmaier display items from the employees’ food collection: James Commissaris, Schoolcraft plant manager; Sue Kuiper (representing the Schoolcraft Friday Back Pack); Paula Rumsey, chairperson of the food drive; Caroline Schroeder, marketing coordinator; Jeff Hampton, Portage plant manager.

By Sue Moore

At J. Rettenmaier Co., employees of the food additive firm on US 131 south of Schoolcraft collected money and food items to give to local families at Christmas. “We wanted them have enough food in their home to feed their children during the two-week school break,” said Paula Rumsey, the organizer of the collection.

This is the fourth year of the program. It’s good for the employees as well as the community “When someone is in need, we put the word out and our people respond, Rumsey said. “We had drop boxes in the break room and we also went out and bought things for our families in need. We benefit too. It makes us feel better. We can go home and sleep at night, knowing that these kids won’t go hungry.”

The money, $3,000 from the company and much more from the employees, went toward giving Friday Back Pack children some supplements to carry them through the holidays, according to Sue Kuiper, the Adam’s Kids volunteer and member of the Friday Back Pack program’s board of directors.

“We keep it confidential as to who is receiving food each week from the program. The packs are put in each child’s locker on Friday, largely in Harding’s bags, so the recipients don’t feel intimidated. The school system helps us determine who should get the backpacks,” Kuiper pointed out. Jill Strake helps in the school as a volunteer every day. She is on the Friday Pack board. Vikki Boos, a retired Schoolcraft teacher and Kuiper share the position of co-president of the non-profit organization, headquartered in the Eagles Nest building on Clay Street in Schoolcraft.
The J. Rettenmaier facility in Schoolcraft has undergone further expansion in 2015. The office building has added a bakery lab, a functional cellulose lab and more office space.

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