Local nonprofits to team up for holiday donation event

Published 11:37 am Thursday, November 23, 2023

NILES — A new event is coming to Niles just in time for the holiday giving season. 

Sharing is Caring: A Day of Donation is a first time event meant to be a “one stop, one drop” option for those wanting to donate items or money to local charities during the busy holiday season. 

Several local non-profit organizations will be on hand on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 11a.m. to 5 p.m., to accept donations and provide information about their services. The event, located in St. Mary’s Elementary School Gym in Niles, will include concessions for sale by St. Mary’s Cub Scout Pack 579, a visit by Santa Claus, a table of holiday cards to be signed and given to seniors living in nursing homes, and student volunteers to help unload vehicles for those unable to come inside.

“It’s easy for people to do their holiday donating,” said organizer Kelly Connell.  “But the holidays are so hectic with everyone running around.”

The idea came to Connell last year while scrolling social media and seeing others post about wanting to make donations, but being overwhelmed by the busy weeks of the holiday season. When mentioning that there should be a single location for such donations, she was encouraged to turn the idea into reality. Sheila Koebel, of the Underground Laugh Lounge, Steve Wickens, of Halbritter Wickens Funeral Services, and Lisa Cripps-Downey, of Berrien Community Foundation, joined Connell to help.

Participating organizations include Christian Services Center, the Salvation Army, Friends of Berrien County Animal Control, United for Motherhood, Ferry Street Resource Center, SPERO House Niles, Apryll’s Closet, The Chalet, Coats for Caring, and Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southwest Michigan.

“All of these organizations are in need all of the time,” Connell said.

If Sharing Is Caring goes well this year, Connell would like to make it a regular event.

“If everyone picked up one thing, that would be a lot,” said Connell.

Additional information, including a list of items needed, can be found by searching for the event, Sharing is Caring: A Community Day of Donations, on Facebook or by contacting Kelly Connell at connell.kelly@gmail.com. St Mary’s Elementary School Gym is located at 219 S. State Street in Niles.