GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The American Legion McDonald-Osmer Post 451 in Ada, along with help from the community, was able to raise enough money this holiday season to provide gifts to 186 veterans in need.
Their usual way of raising money, the annual poppy sale, was not able to go on because of COVID-19, so they came up with a different plan. The post spent the last couple of months hosting a bottle and can drive, which have likely been piling up in many homes across the area. They set up drop-off bins at the Kingsland ACE Hardware on 28th street in Cascade and at the Lions Thornapple Valley Club.
Through this drive, they were able to collect about $175 each day, totaling up to $5000 when the gifts were purchased. The gifts were to be given to those at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans this holiday season.
First, before any gifts were bought, local veterans met with the home to see what items they were most in need of. A large majority said that electric razors would be the most useful item to receive.
The $5000 dollars raised was used to buy enough Norelco electric razors for every veteran, which will be donated to the home this Friday. The Comerica Bank next door to the Kingsland ACE Hardware even volunteered to wrap the gifts.
"There are a lot of veterans in need within our community," said Tom Reimersma, Post 451 treasurer. "The veterans that live at the Home for Veterans are the ones that have really sacrificed through their service. They are always ones that we want to keep in mind because that is a place where veterans go that may not have anything else. We have to provide some good for them to thank them for their service."
The bottle and can drive will continue for the foreseeable future. If you can help by donating any extra cans or bottles to the locations above, the post will continue to use the money raised to provide birthday gifts and gift cards into 2021. There is also a GoFundMe set up to help this cause as well.