Feel good while feeling good; St. George Massage runs promotion to help local nonprofit provide food for children

Photo by djedzura/iStock/Getty Images Plus; St. George News

ST. GEORGE — For the month of August, St. George Massage is offering promotions to raise money for a local charity, Neighborhood Connection, a Santa Clara-based nonprofit dedicated to feeding hungry school-aged children over the weekends.

A sign at St. George Massage promotes the local nonprofit Neighborhood Connection, St. George, Utah, Aug. 8, 2018 | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

For new sales of at least an hour massage or a facial, St. George Massage will donate a portion of the proceeds to Neighborhood Connection. The exact amount that is donated depends on the service, but it is usually an average of $5 per massage.

In addition, St. George Massage is offering $5 off a massage to customers who donate items that meet Neighborhood Connection’s needs, such as gallon-size resealable bags, instant microwave meals like oatmeal or macaroni and cheese and nonperishable snacks including juice boxes, granola bars and fruit snacks. A full list of acceptable items can be found online.

St. George Massage will also be accepting cash donations on behalf of the nonprofit.

A history of not only healing but also helping hands

Now in its 13th year, St. George Massage has a long tradition of giving back to the community, owner Michael Forrest said. The business often makes charitable donations and gives away free massages to charities and nonprofits who need prizes for fundraisers like raffles and drawings.

St. George Massage, St. George, Utah, Aug. 8, 2018 | Photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

And for the past several years St. George Massage has dedicated the month of August to giving back to the community. It is the only month of the year where the business is not focused on promoting a holiday or other event, so they see it as a good time to raise money for charity, Forrest said.

This is the third time the business has held a promotion for a nonprofit. The first year they raised over $3,500 for the American Red Cross, and the second year they raised $1,700 for Hope Pregnancy Care Center. Forrest said they were unable to hold a promotion last year due to internal expansion, but they still contributed to over 20 different charities throughout the year.

Help for the days in between

This year for their month-long promotion St. George Massage chose Neighborhood Connection because their mission is simple and because it’s a new organization – just a year old.

Neighborhood Connection volunteers pack bags with food for kids to eat during the weekend, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Neighborhood Connection, St. George News

“Our goal is just to increase awareness,” Forrest said. “They’re a new charity and people don’t know who they are.”

Neighborhood Connection provides bags of food for children who receive free or reduced-cost meals at school so they can eat over the weekend when they don’t have access to school lunches. Children receive enough food for two breakfasts, two snacks and two lunches.

“If kids are coming to school Monday morning and they’re starving and they haven’t eaten all weekend, they’re not doing well at school,” said Donna MacBean, president and co-founder of Neighborhood Connection. “Food is just is so important to growing children. For their mental health and their physical health.”

Out of the 31,000 children in the Washington County School District in 2017, there were approximately 1,163 homeless children, and over 40 percent of students qualified for free school lunch, according to the Neighborhood Connection website.

Starting in September, the nonprofit will be providing assistance to three different schools: Sunset Elementary School, Coral Cliff Elementary School and Snow Canyon Middle School.

It takes $200 to sponsor one child for the entire school year and $20 for one month. St. George Massage has already raised $200, plus some tangible donations since beginning their promotion this month.

“We’re flabbergasted at how kind people, businesses and other nonprofits have been to us,” MacBean said. “We couldn’t have done it without them, it really has been a neighborhood.”

Email: mshoup@stgnews.com

Twitter:  @STGnews | @MikaylaShoup

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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