Amidst the chaos and uncertainty we are experiencing in our world right now, it’s natural to become fixated on the suffering many people are going through. The COVID-19 global pandemic has shaken us all up, and there’s no shortage of reminders about how bleak things are for a lot of people. We are inundated by troubling updates from mainstream news, social media, stories from our loved ones, acquaintances, and small local businesses, which leave us in a state of fear and helplessness. While it’s important to allow ourselves to process these feelings, it’s crucial to make space to celebrate the acts of kindness that are occurring all around us.
Whether you were born in the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) or you’ve only been here a short while, you have probably witnessed how well Yoopers come together to support one another; whether it’s raising funds for a family whose loved one is sick, repairing homes that were destroyed during the 2018 floods, or the everyday helping hand of pulling a stranger out the ditch during a snowstorm. When things go awry, that’s when we see the best of humanity, and these pockets of sunshine can be instrumental in getting us through this difficult time.
Continue reading for more U.P.lifting stories from the U.P.!
In this article you’ll find:
Sheltering Those Experiencing Homelessness
Room at the Inn
Room at the Inn (RATI) is a transitional shelter, rotating between local churches, which provides a temporary home to those experiencing homelessness. In addition, RATI helps residents transition to permanent housing, secure employment, and provides other resources based on individual needs. With the physical distancing order, local churches could no longer accommodate the needs of RATI due to limited space. To ensure that no one in need of shelter is displaced, Lakeview Arena is providing shelter for them, free of charge! Utilizing the large Olson Rink, there is enough space to maintain physical distance for each person.
If you are interested in helping RATI continue to operate in our community, please visit: https://roomattheinn.org/donate/
Personal Protective Efforts
Masks for Marquette
Masks for Marquette is an initiative led by local seamstresses. Their goal is to sew 6,000 masks for local healthcare workers. If you are able to sew masks, please visit their Facebook page Masks for Marquette for the pattern and to assess their current needs.
If you are unable to sew, but would like to donate funds to their cause, please visit their GoFundMe page.
Beth Milner, local small business owner of Beth Milner Jewelry, and NMU graduate, has been working with her partner to create metal nose pieces that attach to the aforementioned face masks. Beth utilized metal she had on hand, as well as some that were donated. Beth intends to make a nose piece for each mask that is sewn.
Yooper Makers United
Yooper Makers United is a group started by Marquette Senior High School (MSHS) teacher Becky Labrecque, with the intention to utilize 3D printers to make face shields. Over 70 people have joined the team, working together to create shields, until they are no longer needed. Invent@NMU loaned our 3D printer to the team working at MSHS. Austin Morris, a former Invent@NMU student employee, who moved back to Marquette to start his own business, graciously volunteered his time to operate our 3D printer to help create these shields! Thanks Austin! Updates made available on April 7th listed the completed face shield yield at 1,673, which were then distributed to a variety of healthcare facilities around Marquette.
Nourishing Our Spirits
Hearts of Hope – Yooper Strong
According to their Facebook page, Hearts of Hope – Yooper Strong, was created to spread joy around our community while adhering to the physical distancing order. Community members are encouraged to decorate their front door and windows with hearts, to spread love, and to make a game out of counting how many houses are decorated. Have you decorated your home yet? I’ve seen some pretty spectacular displays. If you’re unable to go for a drive, or take a walk, check out their public Facebook group which features heart displays from all over the Upper Peninsula!
Short Stories for Kids
From April 6th to June 10th, Monday through Friday, at 8:40 am, a 20-minute broadcast will take place on radio station WOLV-FM and online at http://www.thewolf.com/. This collaborative effort in the Copper Country Intermediate School District is geared towards elementary and middle school-aged children, and their parents, to help provide some comfort and familiarity while they are learning remotely. The idea came from Micah Stipech, a counselor at Houghton Elementary School, who desired to help children who are concerned about COVID-19 and the subsequent changes to their lives. The broadcast will begin with a short story narrated by a teacher or principal and will be followed with a question and answer session addressing fears and anxieties that students are experiencing. Students may email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry
For anyone experiencing food insecurity now, or anytime, St. Vincent De Paul (SVDP) food pantry, located at 2119 Presque Isle Ave. Marquette, is available to help. Their hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If you, or someone you know, needs their assistance, please contact the pantry at 906-226-2311.
If you would like to donate to SVDP’s food pantry, write a check payable to SVDP with “pantry” written in the memo line, and mail to their address listed above.
Troopers Deliver Groceries
In Manistique, state troopers are making a positive impact on their community by assisting with delivering groceries. Sergeant Mark Giannunzio learned that Jack’s Fresh Market was offering curbside grocery pick up, and wanted to take it one step further by offering community members free grocery delivery by state troopers. Grocery deliveries via trooper are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3p.m. Troopers will deliver to as many people as they can who are living in Manistique and within 10 miles outside of city limits. There are two ways to place an order: call the market at (906) 341-8070 or email Kara Ziminski at email@example.com.
After reading this, we hope you feel inspired to do what you can to help others and to make time to focus on the good news that often gets buried beneath the more enticing, negative headlines. If you are aware of an act of kindness, a person or group striving to help our neighbors in need, or something you are doing to brighten the spirits of those around you, please send us the information at firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to hear about it!