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It's time to 'Give to the Max': Donations accepted now through Thursday, Nov. 16, for online fundraiser benefitting local charities

Do you have the urge to make a donation to help your local animal shelter, food shelf or other nonprofit organization, but want to find a way to maximize every dollar that you give? Then there's no better time than the present.

From now until midnight on Thursday, Nov. 16 — known statewide as Give to the Max Day 2017 — Minnesotans have a unique opportunity to donate to their favorite local nonprofit organizations and participating schools, while helping them earn additional cash incentives as well.

In fact, three area nonprofits — Lakes Crisis & Resource Center, Humane Society of the Lakes, and the Becker County Food Pantry — have been provided with generous matching gifts that will enable all those who donate via the GTMD website, www.givemn.org, to double, or even triple, their contributions.

Humane Society of the Lakes

Anonymous donors have gifted the Humane Society of the Lakes with a generous match that will enable all GTMD contributions up to $2,800 to be matched dollar-for-dollar, according to HSL board member Alissa Mork.

"The proceeds will be used to support our mission of finding forever homes for the homeless, unwanted and abandoned animals that have found their way to our shelter," Mork said.

lifelong homes.

Mork said this year's GTMD theme at the Humane Society is, "Be a hero for homeless animals."

Each year hundreds of animals in the lakes area are abandoned, lost, or can no longer stay with their original owner. HSL is a no-kill shelter that provides a safe, caring temporary home for these animals until they find a forever home, she added.

"We are often at full capacity and have a waiting list of cats and dogs, kittens and puppies that are patiently waiting for a chance at adoption at our shelter," she said. "Whenever we have openings, we reach out to other shelters and rescue organizations to help their animals find homes through us... And while we are fortunate to have a community of donors and volunteers to help, we are always in need of continued financial support, in-kind donations, volunteers, foster homes, and help promoting our cause."

In 2016, HSL took in 230 strays and 47 surrenders, and had 278 animals adopted. "In 2017 we are on track to surpass this, taking in 243 animals in the first 9 months alone," Mork said.

Becker County Food Pantry

Like HSL, anonymous donors have gifted the Becker County Food Pantry with a $7,000 challenge match for GTMD.

"Give to the Max Day is the Food Pantry's only real opportunity to attract a younger generation of donors that may only give online," says Mork, who volunteers at the Food Pantry as well.

While some people believe that gifts of non-perishable food items are the preferred way of donating to the Food Pantry, Mork says, "We're trying to shift that mindset. We can do so much more with a dollar than with a can — because we can get our food at a greatly discounted rate."

Through USDA food subsidies, the Becker County Food Pantry can purchase items such as ground beef, cheese, canned fruits and vegetables, and cereal from the North Country Food Shelf in Crookston for as little as 14 cents a pound, Mork noted.

Though the amount that each food shelf can purchase from the Crookston facility is not unlimited, Mork said, "we do purchase as much from them each month as we can.

"And we use the money we receive to purchase gas for our truck, which collects donations from places like Walmart, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Central Market," she added.

It has been a busy year for the Food Pantry: August was a record month, with 505 families served, and October was the third busiest month on record, with 476 families served.

"We are averaging 440 families a month," said Mork. "So far this year, we have distributed 420,193 pounds of food — that's 210 tons!

"The need continues to grow, and donations are urgently needed to help feed the hungry in our community," she added.

Attention, deer hunters: Hoffman's Meat is also accepting donations of deer on behalf of the Food Pantry this year. Register your deer, then bring it to Hoffman's and they will process it at no cost to the Food Pantry.

"We have not yet received a deer this year, but are hoping to get the word out," says Food Pantry Executive Director Brad Carlson. "We have freezers waiting for venison, a nutritious protein source that is much appreciated by our families in need."

Lakes Crisis & Resource Center

The Detroit Lakes-based Lakes Crisis & Resource Center will be the biggest local beneficiary of GTMD this year: Besides a $10,000 challenge match from BTD Manufacturing, another anonymous donor has stepped up with a second $10,000 match — which means that every dollar given up to that amount will not just be doubled, but tripled, says LCRC Executive Director Anna Sellin.

"We're hoping to raise a total of $36,000 this year (including both matches)," said Sellin.

Last year's match of $10,000 from BTD resulted in a very successful Give to the Max Day event for Lakes Crisis & Resource Center. The organizations are partnering again with the intention of creating an even more successful online giving event.

LCRC's services to the men, women, and children of Becker County and surrounding communities include not only the Positive Connections Parenting Time Center, which offers supervised visits and supportive services for parents with kids in foster care; and Mary's Place, an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence; but a variety of advocacy and mental health services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and general crimes, as well as children's services such as support groups in the schools and the Kinship mentorship program.

"We are focused on prevention," said Sellin. "We have an excellent children's services staff, who work with children affected by violence, abuse and neglect and make sure they develop healthy coping skills, to try and break the cycle." BTD Manufacturing provides a complete spectrum of custom metalwork services to some of the world's top brands. These services include metal fabrication, forming, welding, tool and die work, machining and much more.

"We are so grateful to BTD and our other match donors for their commitment to this community and helping us provide safety and support to the clients we serve," Sellin said.

More GTMD incentives

Though Give to the Max Day is a one-day-only event, donations made in advance at www.givemn.org are eligible for an additional incentive: Gifts given each day from Nov. 1-15 are eligible for a daily cash drawing of $500. The incentive will be added to the total gift of the donor, to benefit their chosen nonprofit.

"GiveMN is proud to work with nonprofits and schools to raise millions of dollars during our annual day of giving," says Jake Blumberg, executive director of GiveMN. "Give to the Max Day is a breathtaking outpouring of generosity by donors that helps thousands of nonprofits and schools."

Give to the Max Day begins at midnight on Nov. 16 and continues through 11:59 p.m. As an incentive for donating via the givemn.org website during that 24-hour window, GiveMN will do hourly "Golden Ticket" drawings; that is, randomly draw one online donation made to a participating nonprofit or school. That donation will then be "super-sized" with a $1,000 "Golden Ticket" grant incentive. A total of 24 "Golden Tickets" will be granted during the 24-hour event. At the end of Give to the Max Day, there will be one final drawing for a "Super Size Golden Ticket" grant of $10,000. Thus, even a $10 donation can grow into a $1,010 donation, or even a $10,010 donation, benefitting any of the local nonprofits listed at the GiveMN.org website, which include not only the three listed above (which have secured challenge matches), but many others, such as:

• The Friends of Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge;

• The Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District;

• Essentia Health-St. Mary's Foundation;

• Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center;

• Boys & Girls Club of Detroit Lakes;

• Patriot Assistance Dogs; Marshmallow Foundation;

• Detroit Mountain Recreation Area;

• Becker County Historical Society & Museum;

• Detroit Lakes Area College Foundation;

• First Lutheran Church of Detroit Lakes;

• Becker County Friends of the Library;

• United Way of Becker County; and the

• Lakes Area Imagination Library.

GiveMN has helped more than 10,000 organizations fundraiser for their causes; in 2016 alone, more than $20 million was raised in 24 hours, for nearly 6,000 participating nonprofits and schools. More information is available at the website.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454
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