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'Together We CAN': Woman launching effort to help downtown businesses rebuild

Posted at 9:43 PM, Jun 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-07 20:09:57-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Karyn Hazel watched helplessly as many of the places she loves to frequent in downtown Grand Rapids were damaged by riots Saturday night.

Within days, she came up with the idea to launch an effort called 'Together We CAN', urging Michiganders to donate cans and bottles to help some of the businesses rebuild.

Reports estimate that people in Michigan are sitting on more than $50 million dollars in unclaimed bottle deposits, since returns were suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I just thought hmmm, if we're sitting on that much money, why couldn't we put that to good use, like something similar that the West Michigan Humane Society did with their bottle and can drive?," Hazel told FOX 17 News. "I'm just hoping for lots of support. You know God put on my heart a goal of six million dollars."

Hazel is still finalizing details, but hopes people will hang on to their bottles and cans to donate, rather than returning them when service resumes on June 15th.

"What happened downtown last weekend is not Grand Rapids. And, it just broke my heart to know that all of the work these small business owners have put into their life long dreams, were literally shattered. Not to mention the hardship they've fallen on because of COVID-19 and then to have this? I don't know how they pick themselves up and move forward. And, I would just love to be part of the rebuild," she said.

Hazel said the very first collection drive will be happening on Thursday, June 11th, at National Storage Center of Kentwood (3609 32nd St SE, Kentwood, MI 49512). They are in need of donations and volunteers.

To learn more, email or visit the page on Facebook.