When it comes to charitable donations and volunteerism, the Detroit Lakes community has a tradition of giving until it hurts - but by participating in Give to the Max Day, you can make those donations stretch even further.
From now until midnight on Thursday, Nov. 15 - known statewide as Give to the Max Day 2018 - 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 secured generous matching gifts that will enable all those who donate via the GTMD website, www.givemn.org, to double their contributions - and possibly earn some additional cash incentives for their favorite nonprofit by doing so.
Lakes Crisis & Resource Center
The Detroit Lakes-based Lakes Crisis & Resource Center will once again be the biggest local beneficiary of GTMD this year, via a $10,000 challenge match from local firm BTD Manufacturing.
"Last year, we raised $39,600, through a $10,000 match from BTD, plus another anonymous gift from an individual in the community who offered to match BTD's donation," said LCRC Executive Director Anna Sellin, adding, "BTD was generous enough to provide another $10,000 match this year."
Those matching donations allowed LCRC to exceed its GTMD goal of $36,000 in 2017, and now they've decided to raise the stakes slightly, with a $40,000 goal for 2018.
"We always want to keep striving for more," Sellin said.
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 that pairs kids in need of adult mentorship with an adult in the community who enjoys interacting with local youth by organizing fun activities that they can enjoy together.
"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."
One project in particular that Sellin hopes to fund through this year's GTMD fundraiser, however, is to provide updated computers for her staff - something that is "desperately needed," as she put it.
"Our computers haven't been replaced since 2010-2011," Sellin said. "But with so many needs for our clients, and this community, it's been hard to decide to allocate funds for technology upgrades that are purely for our own use. It just doesn't feel right."
Through Give to the Max Day, however, they might just be able to fund those technology upgrades as well as some of LCRC's much-needed services in the community.
"We are so grateful to BTD and our other Give to the Max donors for their commitment to this community and helping us provide safety and support to the clients we serve," Sellin said.
Humane Society of the Lakes
Generous donors have gifted the Humane Society of the Lakes with a Give to the Max Day challenge match that is their largest to date - $6,000.
"We have secured $6,000 in match funds for Give to the Max Day this year from the Billy Day Memorial Golf Tournament ($3,500), Faye Reid ($1,000), and anonymous donors," explained HSL board member Alissa Mork.
"All donations through our site, https://givemn.org/organization/hsofthelakes, between now and 11:59 p.m. on Give to the Max Day, Nov. 15,will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to that amount," she added. "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."
Each year hundreds of animals in the lakes area are abandoned, lost, or can no longer stay with their original owner, Mork added.
"We are a no-kill shelter and care for the animals until they find a home," she said, adding, "Our shelter operates solely on donations. Volunteers and staff provide crucial care and loving attention to the animals."
GTMD donations will be used to help provide the shelter, medical care, and food needed for these homeless animals until they are matched with a "furever" home.
"For those of us with fur in our family, can you imagine live without them?" Mork said. "Our theme for this year is 'Together' - as in together, our dedicated staff,volunteers, donors and supporters can continue to help make great things happen for our homeless animals... Together, we really are better!"
Becker County Food Pantry
After receiving over $6,000 in Give to the Max Day donations in 2018, this year, the Becker County Food Pantry has secured a $3,950 challenge match for GTMD, and has a goal of raising $10,000.
"Every dollar donated online will be matched by the following generous donors: BTD ($1,000); Essentia Health St. Mary's Detroit Lakes ($500); Midwest Bank ($500); SJE Rhombus ($500); Weber Family Ford ($200), and anonymous donors ($1,250)," says Mork, who also volunteers with the Food Pantry.
"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," added Mork.
While some people believe that gifts of non-perishable food items are the preferred way of donating to the Food Pantry, she continued, "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, she 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 also use the money we receive to purchase gas for our truck, which collects donations from places like Walmart, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Central Market."
It has been a busy year for the Food Pantry: In the first eight months of 2018, they served a cumulative total of 12,454 individuals, and distributed over 323,078 pounds of food, according to Executive Director Brad Carlson.
"In July alone, 440 families were served," he said, adding that families can come to the Food Pantry once a month for assistance.
"The Food Pantry is often the first place a family goes to when they need help, and we are striving to meet those needs not only through providing food, but also through community connections," Carlson said. "We cannot emphasize enough how meaningful your donation is to making our vision of a hunger-free Becker County possible."
More about Give to the Max Day
On the Give to the Max website (www.givemn.org), donors may type in a zip code to find out which organizations in that area are accepting donations through Give to the Max Day, as well as which ones have received challenge match grants.
Besides the organizations already mentioned, some of the participating nonprofits within the 56501 area code include:
• Christian Fellowship Church;
• Becker County Friends of the Library;
• Holy Rosary Catholic School;
• Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center;
• Becker County Historical Society & Museum;
• Friends of the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District;
• Detroit Mountain Recreation Area;
• Mahube-Otwa Community Action;
• Growth of the Game at Lakeview Golf Course.
Though Give to the Max Day is a one-day-only event, donations are accepted in advance - and most organizations will also accept check and cash donations, provided they are received by Nov. 15 (mailed checks must also clearly be designated for "Give to the Max Day").
In honor of the event's 10th anniversary, GiveMN is also providing generous cash incentives - "Golden Tickets" for $500 will be given away every 10 minutes on Thursday, Nov. 15, via a random drawing of all online donors. The recipient of the "Golden Ticket" will have the incentive added to their donation. Additionally, there will be drawings for a $1,000 "Golden Ticket" every hour of the day, and a final $10,000 "Golden Ticket" drawing will be held at the end of the day.
This means that, for those who have the time and inclination to do so, several smaller donations made throughout the day will have a better chance of winning one of the "Golden Tickets" than one large donation, Mork explained -; though of course, all donations are welcome.
Since 2008, GiveMN has helped more than 10,000 organizations fundraiser for their causes; what began as a one-time event has become an annual giving tradition that has generated nearly $150 million for Minnesota causes, said a news release from GiveMN.
"Year after year, Minnesota is ranked among the most charitable states in the country, and there is no single occasion when our generosity is more clearly on display than Give To The Max Day," said GiveMN Executive Director Jake Blumberg.