1. Thousands of preschool and elementary students in Grand Rapids have new backpacks this morning. Thanks to PNC Bank, Meijer, and ArtPrize, students at GRPS received 7,000 backpacks filled with school supplies.
School leaders joined company reps at Dickinson Academy on Thursday to hand out all the new gear.
Those materials include things like pencils, markers, crayons, Playdoh, and other tools to keep students engaged in learning.
2. Woodland Mall is hosting a free art exhibit this weekend in honor of Black History Month. ArtxChangeGR is hosting the "Love. Art. History." exhibit.
The event will acknowledge and celebrate local artists of color, Black History Month, and Valentine's Day. Shoppers will be able to browse and buy different pieces of art during the three-day exhibit.
It's free to attend and will be located in the mall's center court between Kay Jewelers and Chico's.
The event starts at 11 a.m.
3. The Lift Foundation opened a motel in Kalamazoo last month giving the homeless a place to stay warm this winter.
A local nonprofit, The Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, is supporting their efforts by giving them a grant. The money will be used at the Knight Inn Motel on the city's southside.
It'll soon be transformed into affordable housing, featuring 60 studio apartments.
The renovation project is expected to wrap up by the end of the year.
4. Communities across the globe are celebrating the Lunar New Year today with some social distancing tweaks.
New York City is just one place set to hold a virtual celebration to ring in the New Lunar Year.
Organizers say revelers will still get to see confetti, lions, and drums, but the usual crowds and firecrackers won't be part of the event.
Some are hoping the traditional new year parade, which has been canceled, can be rescheduled for June to coincide with Asian Pacific Heritage Month celebrations.
5. Valentine's Day treats are usually sweet, but if you want to turn up the heat this year, how about trying this spicy treat?
Company Harry and David, which is known for their food gifts and baskets, is selling boxes of gourmet chocolate-covered jalapenos.
The hot peppers are dipped in pure Belgian chocolate and then decorated with chocolate stringing.
The price tag for 15 ounces of these bad boys, which comes out to between nine and a dozen peppers total, is $55.