Grand Traverse Guests Donate to Red Cross of Northern Michigan

Grand Traverse Red Cross
L-R: Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos Promotions Manager Elky Reynolds; American Red Cross of Northern Michigan Board Chairman Keith Smith; and Board Member Michael Caruso.

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos presented $3,229 to the American Red Cross of Northern Michigan to assist local families in need through their many services from home fire prevention and loss assistance to blood donation and emergency relief. The money was raised through the monthly Cash in on Kindness January guest collection initiative at both Turtle Creek and Leelanau Sands casinos, with guests donating their change for a change.

The non-profit organization was chosen in honor of Betty White, who championed their mission throughout her lifetime. Keith Smith, American Red Cross of Northern Michigan Board President, along with Michael Caruso, board member, accepted the check, noting winter in Northern Michigan can be tough under normal circumstances, but especially when a home is lost to a fire. The Northern Chapter experiences an increase in home fires every winter as more people use alternative sources of heat. The money collected will help provide funding for those needing assistance.

The money will also be earmarked for emergency programs for local military members through the Services to Armed Forces program, which is responsible for providing all emergency communications between military families and their service member. American Red Cross is the only non-profit responsible for this important task. When a military family has an emergency, such as a seriously ill family member, they contact American Red Cross using a 1-800 number provided to all military families at time of service. This phone number is staffed 24 hours/7 days a week by volunteers.

The volunteers are trained to manage the family case and communicate the emergency to the military leadership of their loved one. If the service member is given permission to return home, the American Red Cross, many times, may provide commercial transportation to get that person home. They also host virtual resiliency workshops led by licensed mental health professionals who are volunteers. These workshops are for spouses/partners of deployed service members. They have additional workshops for military service members to transition back to civilian life.

The Cash in on Kindness program, which began in February of 2020 as a result of the nationwide coin shortage, has donated over $76,000 to area non-profit organizations through guests donating their change to collectively make a difference in the community for the children, elders, veterans, animals, environment, water quality, health, and neighbors in need. Collections have been distributed to the American Heart Association, Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, Veterans in Crisis, Father Fred Foundation, Grand Traverse Band Food Pantry, Michael’s Place, Child & Family Services, For Love of Water, Cherryland Humane Society, Love Thy Neighbor, Reigning Liberty Ranch, Recovery Road Riders Scholarship Fund, TC Track Club’s Women’s Cancer Fund, 22 2 None, Project Feed the Kids, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.