Using Change to Make a Change: The Meridian Township Community Resources Commission’s successful fundraiser

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From Feb. 1– Mar. 1., The Meridian Township Community Resources Commission and Meridian Cares completed their newest fundraiser, the Baby Bottle Boomerang. The fundraiser aimed to use spare change to drum up funds for community members in need.

The fundraiser’s process was quite simple: find a bottle pickup location, take a bottle home, fill it with change, cash, or checks, and return it to the Meridian Township Municipal Building. Pickup locations for the empty baby bottles included the Meridian Township Municipal Building, Playmaker’s apparel and shoe store, Tom’s Food Center, and Court One Athletic Club.

The Meridian Township Municipal Building, Playmaker’s, Tom’s Food Center and Court One located on a map of Okemos. | Screenshot

Katie Love, Human Services Specialist at Meridian Cares and member of the CRC, was inspired to start this fundraiser from her mother’s own philanthropic efforts.

“So this idea actually came up because, when I was young, my mom did this fundraiser for a nonprofit and it’s like– it was always amazing how much you could get in people’s change that they have laying around the house. We thought about doing this and reached out to some businesses who wanted to support it,” explained Love.

Lindsey Mulder, one of the owners of Playmakers in Okemos, has experience collaborating with Meridian Township for various events and fundraisers in the past.

“This is the first partnership of its kind; however, we have worked with Meridian Township on several different initiatives and events over the years. For example, we sponsored the Juneteenth events that have been held over the last couple of years. We are also supporting the Sustainable Fashion Show they are hosting next month,” explained Mulder. “Supporting our community is our ‘why’ we do what we do. While we are in the business of selling shoes, apparel and accessories… our mission is to really support – pun intended – our customers and community in their movement journey.”

The pickup location at the Meridian Township Municipal Building, alongside instructions for the fundraiser. | Photo

Not only did the Commission see fundraising success at their designated locations, but they noticed that other community centers have used the baby bottles to raise funds as well.

“At the Haslett Community Church on Sunday… They used the baby bottles as a way to– they’ve been collecting money, they have the baby bottles there. They do a kiddo collection, in addition to any service, a group collection. So they taught the kids about giving: giving far away, giving internationally, and then locally. The kids got to go up and down the aisles with the bottles. It was really cute, but that was a great way to instill that value in an early age,” said Commissioner Karen Webster at the CRC meeting on Feb. 21.

Meridian Cares is run by the Community Resources Commission and is an organization aimed to provide financial assistance to the local families when more traditional services are unavailable or do not cover total costs. Most often, the funds donated to Meridian Cares go towards families struggling to cover various bills, such as housing, groceries, or medical care. That’s why baby bottles were used as the change holders: because they were “symbolic” of the fact that Meridian Cares and the CRC most often help families with young children.

Members of the Community Resources Commission meet on Feb. 21 to discuss their Baby Bottle Boomerang fundraiser. | Photo

On Mar. 5, Love reported that the fundraiser brought in a total of $2,238.19 in spare change, cash, and checks, all donated by Meridian Township community members throughout the month of fundraising.

“This change will make a BIG change!” said Love.

For more information on Meridian Cares and the Community Resources Commission, including future fundraising events, donation pages, and upcoming meetings, you can visit the Meridian Cares website here.

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