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Giving from the heart

On Saturday, Jan. 31, the New Richmond Area Centre will celebrate its sixth birthday with a Birthday Bash from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

“We feel pretty special about our birthdays, about how we have grown, who we have become and how important we are in the lives of so many people who come here,” said Member Experience Director Jackie Huff. “You just have to sit out there and listen some days and you are amazed by what is going on.”

To help celebrate, the Centre is also holding 31 Days of Giveaways events throughout the month to give back to its members. The party includes the annual coloring contest, a chance to win a $25 gift certificate, Pickles the Clown, Jumpers, face painting, games and art projects. The event is free to all.

“We have lots planned and we usually do something every day,” Huff said. “We call it 31 Days of Giveaways. Sometimes we have some kind of food or beverage for members every day and then we will also have some kind of game or activity to give something away to our members, be it a T-shirt, a lunch bag or something like that.”

At the end of every week, there will be larger prizes for those members who come in and scan their cards. Those members will get a ticket that goes into a drawing for those larger prizes. Prizes will include a kids prize as well as an adult prize. Each day also features a smaller raffle for items such as a Centre T-shirt, a string backpack or a personal training session.

“The 31 Days of Giveaways is a thank-you as well for the support, confidence and trust that we have from the community to be as successful as we have been,” Huff said. “The giveaway is really celebrating our success and thanking those who have made that success possible. If we don’t say thank you then we are in the wrong boat and we aren’t who the Centre is.”

Giving From the Heart

In addition to giving back to its members, the Centre is also asking the community -- both members and non-members -- to give back to those in need throughout the community and the area by making donations to local nonprofit organizations.

“Along with our Birthday Bash, we are supporting four local nonprofits,” Huff said. “We are supporting these four organizations by giving them each a week where Centre members, and members of the community, can come and make donations of items those nonprofits need.”

The four organizations include Turningpoint, the New Richmond School District’s GAP Fund, Grace Place and Five Loaves. Donations can be dropped off at the Centre (428 S. Starr Ave.).

Having the drop-off point for the donations be the Centre will also help make sure that all the donations find their way to the correct places.

“This particular initiative is a convenience vehicle for everyone -- they can donate and we will make sure that their donations will get to the places that they need to,” Huff said. “The idea for the initiative really just came from conversations that arise here all the time. We will brainstorm things that we want to do and it is that team effort that really leads the Centre. Those brainstorm sessions are when we come up with a lot of our new ideas for new initiatives and such.”

Huff and her fellow staff members at the Centre felt that this new initiative would be something the community of New Richmond could get behind because of its giving nature.

“We have a very giving community and this is a way that we can do it when there is so much need,” Huff said. “We are very happy to participate in that and help out those organizations that need it. This is something that we haven’t done before and we are really excited about it.”

According to Huff, this new initiative is just another way that the Centre can give back to its members and the New Richmond community.

“We give back in many ways already, such as financial assistance memberships to help families that wouldn’t be able to participate otherwise,” Huff said. “We are really here for our entire community and not just those who can afford it. That is a critical aspect of who we are and what we do; and it is often a little-known aspect.”

If a member brings in an item for that week’s organization, he or she will get a raffle ticket for large-screen TV at the end of the month.

Coloring contest

Along with its month long celebration of its sixth birthday, the New Richmond Area Centre will hold a coloring contest for kids to participate in, with a drawing at the end of the month for a $25 Chamber of Commerce gift certificate. The winner will be announced on Jan. 31 during the Centre’s Birthday Bash. The coloring page can be found at or at the Welcome Center.

For more information on the upcoming events, or about the Centre, visit

Give from the Heart

Throughout the month of January, the Centre is asking its members and the people of the community to “Give from the Heart” to fill its lobby each week with items needed by local and area nonprofit organizations. Donations can be dropped off at the Centre (428 S. Starr Ave.) For more information, contact the Centre at 715-246-2252.


-- Donation period: Jan. 4-10

-- Items needed: Laundry soap, paper towels, toilet paper and body wash

-- The goal of Turningpoint for Victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence is to empower those who have experienced domestic or sexual violence by providing them with the resources to achieve freedom from violence through community support and education. Turningpoint provides emergency shelter, emotional support, children’s programming, legal advocacy, support groups, community education, a 24-hour crisis line, and so much more to all victims of domestic and sexual violence and their families residing in Pierce and St. Croix counties. All their services are confidential and provided at no cost. To learn more about Turningpoint and its work, visit

New Richmond Gap Fund

-- Donation period:Jan. 11-17

-- Items needed: Underwear (boys and girls), socks (boys and girls), elastic waist sweatpants, gloves and mittens (waterproof only), snowpants and elastic waist sweatpants (for middle school students)

-- The purpose of the New Richmond Gap Fund is to provide basic items or services to students (grades 4K-12) in the New Richmond School District that are otherwise unfunded by existing resources. The idea is that no child should be cold or feel excluded because of financial reasons. Please contact Joan Simpson, New Richmond District nurse, at 715-243-7424 or Katy Neitzke at 715-377-6579 for more information.

Grace Place

-- Donation period: Jan. 18-24

-- Items needed: Pillows (new only), toilet paper, garbage bags, Kleenex and paper towels

-- Grace Place Shelter, originally located in Somerset and now in New Richmond, opened in 2001 to provide shelter to homeless individuals and families residing in the St. Croix River Valley. During the summer of 2014, Grace Place moved to New Richmond.

Five Loaves

-- Donation period: Jan. 25-31

-- Items needed: Diapers, feminine pads and tampons; toothpaste and toothbrushes; shampoo and conditioner; and bar soap for hands and body

-- Five Loaves’ mission is to provide food and clothing to people in need, through the generosity of our community. It is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, established in 1986, staffed by volunteers and a board of directors. As time has passed, the organization has grown to include the COME Meal (the Community Meal for Everyone) and the Happy Kids Back Pack program. While it does accept food or clothing donations during its hours of operation, it also arranges appointments for drop-offs. Five Loaves can be contacted at 715-243-7491 (Food Shelf), 715-243-7490 (Clothing Center), or

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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