On April 20, the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority (DDA) launched the Buy Local, Give Local Fund, a campaign to help those in need in the community by purchasing products and services from local businesses in downtown Traverse City during the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund exceeded the initial goal of raising $10,000 on the first day and ultimately raised $61,275.

The DDA is working with four area organizations—Goodwill Inn/Street Outreach, Munson Healthcare Foundation, Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center and Traverse City Area Public Schools—to provide items to youth, families, individuals experiencing homelessness, front line workers and those affected by COVID-19. The funds were used to make purchases at nearly 120 businesses in downtown Traverse City, where the average purchase was $600.

The DDA delivered items on Tuesday, May 12 to the Munson Healthcare Foundation and TCAPS Administration Building. Items donated to Munson Healthcare Foundation included care packages to families affected by COVID-19, care packages for new parents and front line staff rewards. TCAPS received items to distribute at their food distribution sites that target various ages such as art supplies, bug boxes, books, gift cards to restaurants, gift cards to the State Theatre, sweet treats and more.

Items previously donated to Goodwill Inn and their Street Outreach Program included sanitizer from Grand Traverse Distillery and Mammoth Distilling, socks, underwear, camp pots and pans, bivvy emergency blankets, food items, art supplies, books, gift cards for shoes and more. Items previously distributed to Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center include 70 masks from Yana Dee, art supplies, puzzles and gift cards to restaurants and clothing stores.

“We are thrilled with the success of the Buy Local, Give Fund,” says DDA CEO Jean Derenzy. “The dollars were used to support downtown businesses at a time when they need the boost. The items were carefully chosen and organized to benefit our partners and their constituents. The program truly was a win-win and gives hope for brighter days. We are grateful for the community support during these difficult times.”

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner