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  • Jim Townsend

PHS Students Help Ionia County YAC Feed Hungry Students in Ionia and Montcalm Counties

A group of PHS students recently helped the Ionia Youth Advisory Council, better known as YAC, feed hungry students in our area.

Advisor Kacy Goeckel said, “Ionia County YAC is made up of the county schools, including Lowell and PW. A handful of students from each HS meet monthly to try to make an impact on their youth and issues with the county. They have put on 9 state wide conference to bring attention to distracted driving. The leading cause of death for teenagers.”

This year YAC was also working to raise funds for Ionia County Kids Third Meal program.

Goeckel, who has been the group’s advisor for 10 years said, “The Portland students contacted local businesses and the schools for a peanut butter drive for IAMKIDS3rd meal which provides over 600 meals for hungry students in Montcalm and Ionia county daily. They county goal was 2,000 pounds of peanut butter. In April, they made over 2,800 peanut butter sandwiches in one hour!”

Brothers Ethan and Haden Getchell ran their own fundraiser to support the effort. The brothers used their YouTube channel Ethan/Haden and did a Go Fund Me link. Mrs. Keusch’s class at Westwod Elementary did their own fundraising and donated $70 to the Getchell brother fundraiser. The Getchell family matched the total for a total contribution of $450.

Ethan Getchell was a senior at PHS this year and was a member of the soccer, wrestling, and golf teams. He was also in the top ten of his graduating class. Haden Getchell was a freshman and played football, wrestled and golf.

When asked about their fundraiser, the brothers said, “As a competitive duo, we decided that we wanted to bring the most peanut butter to the YAC banquet as possible so we made a GoFundMe and promoted it on our YouTube channel. We asked friends and family. We even added an incentive that whatever amount our GoFundMe gets, we would double. In the end we raised just over $500.”

The link to the brothers’ video, which includes a link to the GoFundMe page is

Other PHS students supporting the fundraiser were Kaylee Muirhead, Darragh Goeckel, Ainsley Ludema, Maura Lufkin and Cat Svanda.

Goeckel also shared that State Farm gave a grant of $40,000, “in support of our state conference and a leadership camp we put on in late June. They are fabulous supporters for our YAC group!”

Photos courtesy of Kacy Goeckel.

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