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Community Spirit

My Town: Belding Middle School students top toy donations during finale

BELDING,  Mich. -- WZZM 13 is celebrating the end to yet another successful Toys for Tots School Spirit Challenge, thanks to an army of students scattered across West Michigan.

More than 40 schools participated in this year's drive, collecting more than 11,000 toys. Belding Middle School brought in the most donations during Friday's finale, with 2,774 toys, thanks to a community partnership.

For additional toy totals and videos, visit the WZZM 13 Toys for Tots page.

My Town Greenville: Volunteers needed for Holiday Shop Dec. 16-18

My Town Greenville: Volunteers needed for Holiday Shop Dec. 16-18

GREENVILLE, Mich.—Baldwin Heights Elementary School is in need of volunteers to help pull off its Holiday Shop for students.

From Dec. 16 to Dec. 18, children may shop for gifts in the media center.  This year’s items will be priced from $0.50 to $10 with 80 percent of the items under $4. 

Volunteers are needed to help students budget their money, shop with younger students and to help run the shop.  For additional information or to sign up, click here. 

My Town: Schools awarded new grant to improve arts programs

My Town: Schools awarded new grant to improve arts programs

GREENVILLE, Mich.—School arts programs in Greenville and Kalamazoo are getting a financial boost from a new program.

Greenville Middle School and Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo are two of 43 schools in the state to get a grant of up to $1,200 from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and Michigan Youth Arts.   The funding will be used toward buying or repairing classroom materials used for the arts, including visual arts, music programs, writing and media arts. 

“Applicants from across the state requested a total of $128,000 in grant funding, which exceeded well beyond our expectations, said Marianne Dorais, executive director of Michigan Youth Arts. “While this highlights the success of the program’s debut, it also shines a light on the increasing need for funding within arts education classrooms.”

My Town Belding: Holiday tradition returning to Jay Street

My Town Belding: Holiday tradition returning to Jay Street

BELDING, Mich.--  A Belding family is bringing back a holiday tradition this Thanksgiving.

Robert Brown recently got the green light from the Belding City Council to set up an outdoor Christmas display spanning four properties on Jay Street. With the approval of Brown’s neighbors, council members agreed to suspend the city light and noise ordinance from Nov. 27 through Jan. 1 for Brown so he can run his light display, which will be active from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Brown told the city council earlier this month that he wants to bring back the family tradition, which started in the early 70s.  He says Santa will be out front handing out candy canes, and Christmas music will be playing along with the display.

My Town: Hunting for the hungry

My Town: Hunting for the hungry

LOWELL, Mich.—Deer firearm season is here and Flat River Outreach Ministries is ready to take your meat donations.

The pantry is accepting venison that’s been processed at a USDA certified facility. The closest location to FROM is Jones’ Farm Market LLC, located at 7965 Potters Road in Saranac. 

Donating venison to families in need is not a new concept. Over the past several years, Sportsmen Against Hunger has provided more than 100,000 meals annually.  Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger has compiled a list of its participating processors, which includes Blue Star Meats in Holland, Sage’s Meat Processing in Greenville, Barb’s Deer Processing in Comstock Park.  

My Town Belding: Girl Scout makes parks more duck friendly

My Town Belding: Girl Scout makes parks more duck friendly

BELDING, Mich.—Waterfowl in Belding have a safe place to hide out, thanks to a Girl Scouts’ Gold Award project.

Allison Harrison recently completed building six wood duck boxes for the city parks of Belding.  Harrison hopes the boxes will encourage the duck population to remain in Belding so hunters and nature lovers can enjoy the fowl for years to come.

Harrison joined the Girl Scouts in elementary school and stuck with the organization, despite being teased by her classmates and the collapse of her original troop.

"I got past all of the bullying and judgment and followed through with Girl Scouts, no matter what people threw at me," she said.

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids boosts tuition assistance; deadline nears

My Town: Diocese of Grand Rapids boosts tuition assistance; deadline nears

The Diocese of Grand Rapids is boosting tuition assistance for students, but time is running out to apply for it.

The deadline for applying for first round funding is Nov. 22.  The first round of grants will be announced in early February and distributed in early fall.

Bishop Walkowiak recently announced the Diocese is more than quadrupling tuition assistance, from $240,000 to $1 million each year.  The funding boost, made possible through donations and diocese scholarship accounts, is part of a three-year effort to make Catholic schools affordable to more families.  According to Private School Aid Service, even after all tuition assistance is distributed, Catholic school families still need $1.2 million a year.