A day of giving

WISE raises funds to support organization services

BIG RAPIDS — The generosity of area residents was on display Dec. 3 as people came out to support a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those in need.

Women’s Information Service, Inc. (WISE) hosted Giving Day at the First United Methodist Church in Big Rapids in honor of Giving Tuesday, a national day of raising funds and generating awareness which is recognized each year after Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Jane Currie, WISE executive director, explained the event was a chance to get area residents out for a day of fun while raising money for the services WISE provides.

“This was an opportunity for people in the community to come together and support what is important to them,” she said. “All the proceeds go to programming for WISE and our goal of helping keep people safe.”

Throughout Giving Day, people were treated to a holiday flower arrangement demonstration by Patterson’s Flowers, a cooking demonstration by chef Don Zimmer and performances by the Big Rapids Middle School Choir, Canadian Lakes Men’s Choir and the Big Rapids High School Chamber Ensemble, among other activities.

“We wanted to bring a variety of people in to thank everyone for donating,” Currie said.

She explained WISE provides a variety of programs to people in Mecosta, Osceola and Newaygo counties, including crisis intervention and other support services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. These services include safe lodging at its 19-bed shelter, food, transportation to medical appointments, assistance in obtaining vital documents, help finding affordable housing and more.

“Our mission is to teach empowerment and give people a voice who don’t have one,” she said.

According to WISE’s website, in the past year, the nonprofit assisted 491 clients through outreach services, housed 127 individuals at the shelter in Big Rapids, served 15,189 meals and used more than 5,000 diapers for children taking refuge at the shelter.

“WISE really works behind the scenes to decrease the violence in our community,” Currie said.

People who could not attend Giving Day, but wish to support WISE, can make a donation online at wiseagainstviolence.org or by mailing a check to WISE at PO Box 1249, Big Rapids MI 49307.