How you can help local non-profits on Give to the Max Day

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(ABC 6 NEWS) – Thursday is Give to the Max Day, a statewide giving event in Minnesota for non-profits and schools.

Thousands of non-profits receive donations for this day of giving.

Many organizations have faced problems throughout the pandemic such as financial losses or changes to their programs, so a lot of them have changed the way they do things.

One of those non-profits is the STARS, Success Through Adults Reaching Students in Albert Lea.

It is a mentoring program for kids ages 7 to 17.

The program matches a child with an adult mentor in the community for the year and they meet a few times a month.

During the start of COVID, they had to move to virtual meetings.

"It is a benefit for both because the students really gain because they feel more self-confidence because the mentors are with them showing them different things around the community to do and then also the mentors feel a sense of self-worth and like they are giving back to the community," said STARS Program Coordinator, Mary Jo Volkman.

Many of the students join because a parent, teacher, or school counselor seeks the program if a child is struggling with things like bullying or being shy.

Another non-profit participating in Give to the Max Day is Commonweal Theatre Company in Lanesboro.

Like many theatres, they had to shut down productions in 2020 but were able to reopen their doors with precautions in April 2021.

They added some health officers to their staff who kept a close look on CDC guidelines and COVID cases in the area to keep visitors and employees safe.

"I think we are really just fortunate that we have not had to close our doors since April. It was a really unique way of having to do it, but just really grateful," said Commonweal Theatre Company Actor and Development Manager, Elizabeth Dunn.

If someone donates to a non-profit for Give to the Max Day, the money can help with numerous things.

At STARS they have a two-year grant called the Youth Intervention Program grant through the Minnesota State Office of Justice Systems. This is a matching grant meaning that the money they get from Give to the Max would help them match that grant.

The money can also help STARS with group events for the mentors and mentees.

"I think it is just community support for the different programs that are available here in Freeborn County and just for children in general," said Volkman.

At Commonweal Theatre, the funds are used for things like bringing in freelance directors or lighting designers to bring people the quality of live theatre they expect from Commonweal.

"If you think live theatre or arts are important in southeastern Minnesota then let us be one of the organizations that you give to," said Dunn.

If you are interested in donating to one of these non-profits or finding more in our area you can search here.